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INDIAN  CASTE. 


BY  THE  LATE 

JOHN  WILSON,  D.D.,  F.R.S., 

H050RA.RT  PRESIDENT  OF  THE  BOMBAY  BRANCH  OP  THE  ROYAL  ASUTIC  SOCIETY,  AND 
SOME  TIME  VICE-CHANCELLOR  OF  THE  UNIVERSITY  OF  BOMBAY, 


MISSIONARY  OF  THE  FREE  CHURCH  OF  SCOTLAND. 


IN  TWO  VOLUMES. 
VOL.  I. 


Times  of  India  Office, 

Bombay. 

William  Blackwood  & Sons, 

Edinburgh  & London. 

1877. 


All  rights  reserved. 


BoMBiT  : PRINTED  AT  THE  TIMES  CF  INDIA  STEAM  PRESo. 


NOTE. 


When  Dr.  Wilson  died  in  December  1875,  he 
left  no  instructions  as  to  the  future  disposal  of  the 
work  on  Caste  on  which  he  had  been  engaged  at 
intervals  for  the  last  twenty  years  of  his  life. 
A cursory  inspection  of  the  vast  mass  of  papers 
which  Dr.  AVilson  left  led  me  to  hope  that  ample 
material  existed  for  a continuation  of  the  work, 
if  not  for  its  absolute  completion.  Accordingly, 
after  a delay  caused  by  the  necessity  of  going 
through  all  the  papers  for  purposes  connected 
with  the  winding  up  of  the  Estate,  all  those  that 
seemed  to  appertain  to  Dr.  Wilson’s  literary 
activity  were  sent  to  Mr.  Andrew  Wilson,  into 
whose  hands  the  task  of  completing  the  Book 
from  material  existing  in  manuscript  would 
naturally  have  fallen.  But  the  result  of  a care- 
ful investigation  was  to  satisfy  the  family  that 
nothing  would  be  gained  by  attempting  to  add 
materially  to  the  work  as  Dr.  Wilson  left  it ; and, 
accordingly,  I was  requested  to  have  it  brought 
out  without  further  delay. 


iv. 

Dr.  Wilson  had  finally  corrected  the  whole  of 
the  first  volume  of  the  work,  and  the  second 
volume  as  far  as  the  end  of  page  184.  The 
material  for  pp.  1 84-228  of  the  second  volume, 
completing  the  account  of  the  Brahmanical  castes, 
existed  partly  in  type,  partly  in  manuscript.  But 
these  pages  were  not  revised  by  the  Author. 

I should  perhaps  mention  that  a portion  of  the 
first  volume  has  been  in  type  since  1857. 

An  index  of  names  and  the  more  important 
subjects  has  been  added. 

PETER  PETERSON,  M.A. 

Elphinstone  College^ 

1^<  October,  1877. 


CONTENTS. 


Part  First— What  Caste  is. 

Pages. 

9 — 12  SECTION  I.  Introductory  Remarks. 

12 — 17  SECTION  II.  The  Meaning,  Sphere,  Authority  and 

Symbols  of  Caste. 

17 — 53  SECTION  III.  Orthodox  View  of  the  Four  Original 

Castes. 

The  Brahman.  His  four  orders.  Present  pretensions  of 
the  Brahman.  The  Kshatriya.  The  Vaishya.  The 
Shudra. 

53 — 72  SECTION  IV.  Orthodox  View  of  the  Mixed  Castes. 

Manu’s  account.  Maratha  Tabular  View.  Conservative 
Spirit  of  Orthodox  School. 

73 — 211  SECTION  V.  Origin  and  Development  of  Indian 

Caste. 

Notices  in  the  Rig  Veda.  The  Aryas  and  Dasyus.  The 
Early  Priesthood.  The  Rishis.  The  Kshatriyas  and 
Vaishyas.  The  Shudras.  The  God  Brahma.  Caste  no 
systematic  institution  of  the  Aryas.  The  Purusha  Sukta. 
Notices  in  the  Sama  Veda.  In  the  Yajiu’  Veda.  The 
Purusha  Medha.  Notices  in  the  Atharva  Veda.  In  the 
Brahmanas.  Aitareya  Brahmana  quoted.  Legend  of 
Sunahshepha.  Notices  in  the  Aranyakas  and  Upanishads. 
In  the  Sutras.  Recapitulation. 

212 — 277  SECTION  VI.  Caste  in  the  Indian  Epics. 

The  Ramayana.  The  Mahabharata. 


CONTUKTS, 


PAGES. 

278 — 315  SECTION  VII.  The  Buddhist  View  of  Caste. 

Buddha.  Date  of  his  death.  His  doctrines.  Buddhist 
Literature.  Buddha’s  Relations  to  Caste.  The  Vajra ' 
Shuchi  and  Skanda  Parana.  The  Jainas. 

315 — 353  SECTION  VIII.  A Peep  at  Indian  Society  by  the 

Greeks. 

Herodotus.  Arrian. — Alexander’s  expedition.  Megas- 
thenes.  His  classification  of  the  Indians.  Strabo.  Ptolemy. 

354 — 418  SECTION  IX.  Caste  in  the  Law  Books  and  Later 

Indian  Literature. 

List  of  Smritis.  Substance  of  that  of  Augiras.  Mauu. 
The  Mitakshara.  The  Parashara  Smriti.  The  Mayukha. 

418 — 422  SECTION  X.  Caste  in  the  Harivansha. 

422 — 450  SECTION  XI.  Caste  in  the  Pdranas. 

List  of  the  Puranas.  Notices  of  Caste  in  the  several 
Puranas. 


INDIAN  CASTE 


BY  THE  LATE 


JOHN  WILSON,  D.D.,  F.K.S., 

UOSORARY  PRESIDENT  OP  THE  BOMBAY  BRANCH  OP  THE  ROYAL  ASUTIC  SOCIETY,  AND 
SOME  TIME  VICE-CHANCELLOR  OP  THE  UNIVERSITY  OP  BOMBAY, 

MISSIONARY  OF  THE  FREE  CHURCH  OF  SCOTLAND. 


IN  TWO  VOLUMES. 
VOL.  II. 


Times  of  India  Office, 

Bombay. 

William  Blackwood  & Sons, 

Edinburgh  & London. 

1877. 


All  rights  reserved. 


BOMBAY  : PRISTED  AT  THE  TIMEa  CF  INDIA  STEAM  PRESS. 


CONTENTS. 


Part  Second— What  the  Castes  are. 


Pages. 

1—228 

5 


SECTION  I. — The  Brahmanical  or  Priestly  Castes. 
First  Distinctions  among  the  Brahmans. 


17  General  Divisions  of  the  Brahmans. 


17- 

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17 

The 

30 

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50 

The 

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The 

60 

The 

64 

The 

65 

The 

66 

The 

66 

The 

68 

The 

72 

The 

73 

The 

91 

The 

124- 

-228  The 

124 

The 

140 

The 

148 

The 

159 

The 

166 

The 

187 

The 

192 

The 

196 

The 

203 

The 

220 

The 

222 

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INDIAN  CASTE. 


PART  FIRST.— WHAT  CASTE  IS. 

I. — Introductory  Remarks. 

Pride  of  ancestry,  of  family  and  personal  position  and 
occupation,  and  of  religious  pre-eminence,  which,  as 
will  be  immediately  seen,  is  the  grand  characteristic 
of  “ Caste,”  is  not  peculiar  to  India.  Nations  and 
peoples,  as  well  as  individuals,  have  in  all  countries,  in 
all  ages,  and  at  all  times,  been  prone  to  take  exaggerated 
views  of  their  own  importance,  and  to  claim  for  them- 
selves a natural  and  historical  and  social  superiority 
to  which  they  have  had  no  adequate  title.  That  spirit 
which  led  many  of  the  olden  tribes  of  men  to  consider 
their  progenitors  as  the  direct  offspring  of  the  soil  on 
which  they  trode,  as  the  children  of  the  sun  moon  and 
other  heavenly  bodies  in  whose  light  they  rejoiced,  or  as 
the  procreations  or  manifestations  of  the  imaginary  per- 
sonal gods  whom  they  worshipped,  has  been  very  ex- 
tensive in  its  influence  throughout  the  world.  The  higher 
communities  and  classes  of  men,  ungrateful  to  Provi- 
dence for  their  advantages  when  real,  have  often  looked 
with  contempt  and  disdain  on  the  lower  ; while  the  lower 
have  looked  with  envy,  jealousy,  and  depreciation 
on  the  higher.  Comparatively  few  individuals,  indeed, 


10 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


except  under  the  liberalizing  and  purifying’  influ- 
ences of  onr  holy  faitli,  have  been  able  sincerely  to 
adopt  the  language  of  the  Roman  poet, 

Nam  genus  'et  proavos  et  quae  non  fecimus  ipsi, 

Yix  ea  nostra  toco  ;* 

or  of  the  Roman  orator,  “ Quanto  superiores  snmus,  tanto 
nos  o'eramns  submissins.”t  Who  maketh  us  to  differ?  and 
what  are  the  responsibilities  of  onr  respective  positions  ? 
have  been  cpiestions  but  seldom  put  and  made  the  subject 
of  distinct  recognition.  The  existence  of  a common 
brotherhood  in  the  human  family,  and  the  practice  of  a 
common  sympath}'  and  succour,  have  by  the  majority  of 
men  been  grievously  overlooked.  Tyranny  and  mischief 
and  cruelty  have  been  most  extensively  the  consequence 
of  antisocial  presumption  and  pretension.  The  constant 
experience  of  the  general  observer  of  human  nature  has 
been  not  unlike  that  of  the  Hebrew  sage,  Agur,  the  son 
of  Jakeh: 

There  is  a generation  that  are  pure  in  their  own  eyes. 

And  yet  is  not  washed  from  their  filthiness. 

Tliere  is  a generation,  O how  lofty  are  their  eyes  ! 

And  their  eyelids  are  lifted  up. 

There  is  a generation  whose  teeth  are  as  stvords. 

And  their  jaw-teeth  as  knives. 

To  devour  the  poor  from  off  the  earth, 

And  the  needy  from  among  men.J 

It  is  among  the  Hindus,  however,  that  the  imagina- 

* For  descent  and  lineage,  and  the  things  which  we  ourselves 
have  not  aceomplished  : these  I scarcely  call  our  own.  Ovid. 

f The  loftier  that  we  really  are,  the  more  humbly  let  us  conduct 
ourselves.  Quintilian. 

I Prov.  XXX.  12-14. 


INTRODUCTORY  REMARKS. 


11 


tion  of  natural  and  positive  distinctions  in  humanity  has 
been  brought  to  tlie  most  fearful  and  pernicious  dev^e- 
lopment  ever  exhibited  on  the  face  of  the  globe-  The 
doctrine  and  practice  of  what  is  called  Caste,  as  held 
and  observed  by  this  people,  has  been  only  dimly 
shadowed  by  the  worst  social  arrangements  which  were 
of  old  to  be  witnessed  among  the  proudest  nations  and 
among  the  proudest  orders  of  men  in  these  nations.  The 
Egyptians,  who,  according  to  Herodotus,  considered 
themselves  “ the  most  ancient  of  all  nations,”  and  who 
are  described  by  him  as  “ excessively  religious  beyond 
any  other  people,”  and  ‘‘  too  much  addicted  to  their  an- 
cestorial  customs  to  adopt  any  other,”*  most  nearly  ap- 
proached them  in  their  national  and  family  pretensions, 
and  the  privilege  and  customs  of  priests  and  peo[>le 
viewed  in  reference  both  to  descent  and  occupation  ; 
but  in  the  multitude,  diversity,  complication,  and  bur- 
densomeness of  their  religious  and  social  distinctions,  the 
Hindus  have  left  the  Egyptians  far  behind.  Indian  Caste 
is  the  condensation  of  all  the  pride,  jealousy,  and  tyranny 
of  an  ancient  and  predominant  people  dealing  with  the 
tribes  which  ithey  have  subjected,  and  over  which  they 
have  ruled,  often  without  the  sympathies  of  a recognized 
common  humanity.  It  is  the  offspring  of  extraordinary 
exaggeration  and  mystification,  and  of  all  the  false  sj)e- 
culation  and  religious  scrupulosity  of  a great  country 
undergoing  unwonted  processes  of  degeneration  and  cor- 
ruption. It  is  now  the  soul  as  well  as  the  body  of 
Hinduism.!  More  than  anything  that  ever  came  within 

* Herodot.  Euterp. 

! This  is  admitted  by  the  natives  of  India.  E.  g.,  Gangadhar  Shas- 
tri  Wiadake,  in  the  lliudu-DIiuruia  Tatva  (p.  76),  says  in' 


12 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


the  sphere  of  the  observation  of  our  own  great  poet, 
Shakespeare,  it  is 

“ That  monster  Custom,  who  all  sense  doth  eat 
Of  habits  devil.” 

It  is  dishonouring  alike  to  the  Creator  of  man,  and  in- 
jurious to  man  the  creature.  It  is  emphatically  the 
curse  of  India  and  the  parent  of  India’s  woes.  It  is  the 
great  enemy  of  enlightenment  and  improvement  and 
advancement  in  India.  It  is  the  grand  obstacle  to  the 
' triumphs  of  the  Gospel  of  peace  in  India-  Its  evil 
doings  of  late,  it  is  not  too  bold  to  say,  have  moved  earth 
below  and  heaven  above  and  hell  beneath.  With  its  terri- 
ble deeds  before  us  proclaiming  its  hate  and  power, 
attention  may  well  be  bestowed  on  its  origan,  develop- 
ments, character,  and  results,  and  on  our  omi  duty  with 
respect  to  its  continued  influence  on  Indian  society. 

II. — The  Meaning,  Sphere,  Authority,  and  Symbols 
OF  Caste. 

Caste  is  not  an  Indian  word.  Its  original  form,  casta, 
belongs  to  the  Portuguese,  by  whom  it  was  ordinarily 
used  among  themselves  to  express  “ cast,”  mould,” 
“ race,”  kind,”  and  quality.”  It  was  applied  by  the 
Portuguese,  wdien  they  first  arrived  in  the  East,  to  desig- 
nate the  peculiar  system  of  religious  and  social  distinc- 

f srrri'it?-  arrlir  jtt  fr  Hcr&fT  urflerr  ant . . . .1  sttIt- 

u?  ?T  rtf'TJTT^r  TRsT  TT^T  arrf ; fr 

^rfT- — it  is  by  means  of  these  Caste  distinctions  that  in 
the  Bharatkhanda  the  Hindu  religion  has  been  so  well  presei’ved. . . . 
These  Caste  distinctions  are  the  chief  support  of  the  Hindu  religion ; 
when  it  (this  support)  gives  way  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  Hindu 
religion  will  sink  to  destruction. 


MEANING  AND  SrilERE  OF  CASTE. 


13 


tions  which  they  observed  among  the  Hindu  people, 
particularly  as  founded  on  race.*  The  Indian  word 
which  partially  corresponds  with  Caste  is  Jati,  equivalent 
to  the  Latin  gens,  (in  the  inflected  form  gent — ) and  Greek 
7£voc,  “ race  or  nation  while  Jati-hheda,  the  represent- 
ative of  the  foundations  of  the  caste-system,  means  the 
“ distinctions  of  race  ( gentis  discrhnina. )”  Varna,  an- 
other word  used  for  it  by  the  Hindus,  originally  meant  a 
diflerence  in  “ colour.”  Gradually  these  Indian  words, 
conveniently  rendered  by  Caste,  have  coihe  to  represent 
not  only  varieties  of  race  and  colour,  but  every  original, 
hereditary,  religious,  instituted,  and  conventional  distinc- 
tion which  it  is  possible  to  imagine.  Caste  has  its  peculiar 
recognitions, — though  of  a discordant  character, — of  crea- 
tion, formation,  constitution,  and  birth,  in  all  varieties  of 
existence  and  life,  whether  vegetable,  brutal,  human,  or 
superhuman.  It  gives  its  directions  for  recognition, 
acceptance,  consecration,  and  sacramental  dedication,  and 
vice  versd,  of  a human  being  on  his  appearance  in  the 
world.  It  has  for  infancy,  pupilage,  and  manhood,  its 
ordained  methods  of  sucking,  sipping,  drinking,  eating, 
and  voiding  ; of  washing,  rinsing,  anointing,  and  smear- 
ing ; of  clothing,  dressing,  and  ornamenting  ; of  sitting, 

* Thus,  in  describing  the  people  of  Malabar,  Camoens  (Lusiad. 
Cant.  VII.  37)  says  : — 

A lei  da  gcnte  toda,  rica,  e pobre 
De  fabulas  composta  se  imagina  : 

Andam  nus,  e somente  hum  panno  cobre 
As  partes,  que  a cobrir  natura  cnsina  : 

Dous  modes  ha  de  gente ; porque  a nobro 
Naires  cliamados  sao;  e a menos  dina 
PoleEs  tem  por  nome;  a quern  obriga 
A lei  uao  mistui-ar  a casta  antiqua : 


14 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


rising,  and  reclining  ; of  moving,  visiting,  and  travelling  ; 
of  speaking,  reading,  listening,  and  reciting  ; and  of  me- 
ditating, singing,  Avorking,  playing,  and  lighting.  It 
has  its  laws  for  social  and  religious  rights,  privileges,  and 
occupations  ; for  instructing,  training,  and  educating ; 
for  obligation,  duty,  and  practice  ; for  divine  recognition, 
service,  and  ceremony  ; for  errors,  sins,  and  transgres- 
sions ; for  intercommunion,  avoidance,  and  excommuni- 
cation ; for  defilement,  ablution,  and  purification  ; for 
fines,  chastisements,  imprisonments,  mutilations,  banish- 
ments azid  capital  executions.  It  unfolds  the  Ava3"s  of 
committing  what  it  calls  sin,  accumulating  sin,  and  of 
putting  away  sin ; and  of  acquiring  merit,  dispensing  merit, 
and  losing  merit.  It  treats  of  inheritance,  conveyance, 
possession, and  dispossession;  and  of  bargains,  gain,  loss, 
and  ruin.  It  deals  with  death,  burial,  and  burning ; and 
with  commemoration,  assistance,  and  injury  after  death. 
It  interferes,  in  short,  Avith  all  the  relations  and  events  of 
life,  and  Avith  what  precedes  and  follows,  or  Avhat  is 
supposed  to  precede  and  folloAV  life.  It  reigns  supremo 
in  the  innumerable  classes  and  divisions  of  the  Hindus, 
Avhether  they  originate  in  family  descent,  in  religious 
opinions,  in  civil  or  sacred  occupations,  or  in  local  resi- 
dence ; and  it  professes  to  regulate  all  their  interests, 
affairs,  and  relationships.  Caste  is  the  guiding  principle  of 
each  of  the  classes  and  divisions  of  the  Hindus  viewed  in 
their  distinct  or  associated  capacity.  A caste  is  any  of 
the  classes  or  divisions  of  Hindu  society. 

The  authority  of  Caste  rests  partly  on  written  laAvs, 
partly  on  legendary  fables  and  narratiA^es,  partly  on  A^erbal 
tradition,  partly  on  the  injunctions  of  instructors  and 
priests,  partly  on  custom  and  usage,  and  partly  on  the 


AUTHORITY  AXD  SYMBOLS  OF  CASTE. 


15 


caprice  and  convenience  of  its  votaries.  “ Tlie  roots  O'f 
law,”  sa3"s  Manu,  “are  the  whole  Veda,  the  ordinances  and 
observanes  of  such  as  perfectly  understand  it,  the  im- 
memorial customs  of  good  men,  and  self-satisfaction.” 
“No  doubt  that  man  who  shall  follow  the  rules  prescribed 
in  the  Shruti  [what  was  heard,  from  the  Veda]  and  in  thev^ 
Smy'iti  [what  was  remembered,  from  the  Law]  will  acquire 
fame  in  this  life,  and  in  the  next  inexpressible  happiness,” 

“ Custom  is  transcendent  law.”*  The  rules,  and  customs, 
and  prejudices,  and  breaches,  and  ofl’ences,  and  conces- 
sions, and  intermissions,  and  compromises  of  Caste  are 
numerous  and  capricious,  and  complicated  beyond  com^,^--^ 
ception.  They  are  constantly  characterized  by  pride  and 
folly^and  frequently  by  wickedness. 

Caste  has  its  marks,  and  signs,  and  symbols,  and 
symbolical  acts,  as  well  as  its  laws  and  customs ; and 
very  great  stress  is  laid  by  it  on  their  constant  exhibi- 
tion. The  grand  index  of  Hinduism  is  the  tuft  of  hair 
on  the  crown  of  the  head, — called  in  Sanskrit  chuda,  or 
shikhd,  in  Marathi  shend'i,  and  in  Tamul  kudame, — 
which  is  left  there  on  the  performance  of  the  sacrament  of 
tonsure,  on  the  first  or  third  year  after  birth  in  the  case 
of  the  three  first  classes  of  the  Hindus.!  In  consequence 
of  this  mark,  Hinduism  is  popularly  known  as  the  Shen- 
di-dharma  , or  religion  of  the  Shcncli.^  In  the  eighth 
year  after  the  conception  of  a Brahman  (the  representa- 
tive of  the  priestly  class),  in  the  eleventh  from  that  of 
a prince  or  Ksliairiya,  and  in  the  twelfth  from  that 
of  a Vish  or  Vaishya,  the  agriculturist  and  mer- 

*Manu,  ii.  6;  ii.  9;  i.  108.  t See  Manu,  ii.  35. 

1 See  Molesworth’s  Marilthi  Dictionary,  sub  voc. 


IG 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


chant,  tlie  investiture  with  the  sacred  cord  should  oc- 
cur ;*  tliongh  this  sacrament,  in  the  case  of  these  classes 
pai  tiv-iilarly  eager  for  its  special  blessings,  may  be  re- 
sulted to  by  them  in  their  fifth,  sixth,  or  eighth  year 
respectively. t It  should  never  be  delayed  in  the  case  of 
a Brahman  beyond  his  sixteenth  year ; nor  in  that  of  a 
Kshatriya,  beyond  his  twenty-second  ; nor  in  that  of  a 
Vaishya  beyond  his  twenty-fourth 4 This  investiture 
must  be  hallowed  by  tlie  communication  of  the  Gciyatri^ 
the  verse  of  the  Vedas  esteemed  most  sacred.  The  par- 
ties who  neglect  it  are  to  be  reckoned  apostates  and 
outcasts, § with  whom  no  connexion  is  to  formed  cither 
in  laAv  or  affinity,  even  by  Brahmans  distressed  for  sub- 
sistence. The  sacrificial  strings  of  each  class  have  to 
fie  formed  after  a fashion  prescribed  in  the  Law  Books. 
Certain  orders  as  to  the  clothes  to  be  worn,  and  the  staves 
to  be  carried,  issued  as  authoritative  in  ancient  times  are 
now  in  abeyance,  though  long  established  custom  reigns 
supreme  in  these  matters.  The  brow  of  every  Hindu 
must  be  marked,  at  least  when  he  is  in  a state  of  cere- 
monial purit}",  with  various  pigments  indicative  of  his 
particular  caste,  and  sectarial  connexions  as  a worship- 
j)cr  of  particular  gods  and  goddesses  in  their  varied 
forms. II  These  marks  are  spots  and  dots  and  figures  of 
particular  size  and  shape,  and  lines  horizontal  and  verti- 
cal, as  the  caste  regulations  may  require.  An  engraving 

* Mami,  ii.  3G.  f Manu,  ii.  37.  J Mauu,  ii.  38. 

§ 'TR^r  Manu,  ii.  39. 

II  “lie,  wlio  not  entitled  to  distinguishing  marks  yet  lives  by  wearing 
such  marks,  takes  to  himself  the  sins  of  those  who  are  entitled  to  such 
marks,  and  shall  be  born  from  the  womb  of  a brute  animal,”  Manu, 
iv.  200. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  FOUR  ORIGENAL  CASTES.  17 

illustrative  of  some  of  them  is  given  in  one  of  the  plates 
of  Moor’s  Hindu  Pantheon.  They  suggest  to  a Chris- 
tian an  apt  illustration  of  the  figurative  expression  of 
the  Book  of  Revelation,  the  “ mark  of  the  beast  in  the 
forehead.” 


HI. — Orthodox  View  of  the  Four  Original  Castes 
OF  THE  Hindus. 


According  to  the  opinions  of  the  Hindus  deemed  by 
them  orthodox,  the  original  Castes  were  four  in  number, — ■ 
that  of  the  Brd/tmans,  or  priestly  class  ; that  of  the 
Kshatriyas,  or  warrior  class  ; that  of  the  Vaishyas,  or 
Mercantile  and  Agricultural  class  ; and  that  of  the  Shn- 
dras,  or  Servile  Class. 


“For  the  sake  of  preserving  the  universe,”  says  Mann, 
“the  Being  supremely  glorious  allotted  separate  duties  to 
those  who  sprang  respectively  from  his  mouth,  his  arm, 
his  thigh,  and  his  foot.  To  Brdhnans  he  assigned  the 
duties  of  reading  [the  Veda],  and  teaching  it,  of  sacrific- 
ing, of  assisting  others  to  sacrifice,  of  giving  alms,  and 
of  receiving  gifts.'”'  To  defend  tlie  peojde,  to  give  alms, 
to  sacrifice,  to  read  [the  Veda],  to  shun  the  allurements 
of  sexual  gratification,  are  in  a few  words,  tlie  duties  of  a 
Kshatriya.  To  keep  herds  of  cattle,  to  bestow  largesses, 
to  sacrifice,  to  read  the  scripture,  to  cai’ry  on  trade,  to  lend 
at  interest,  are  the  duties  of  a Vaishyn.  One  principal 
duty  the  Supreme  Ruler  assigns  to  a Shudra ; naine- 
1}’,  to  serve  the  before-mentioned  classeSj^ithcut  depre- 


* Tliese  are  the  Six  constituted  tVoiks  of  the  Biahm  ins,  techni- 
cally denominated  by  them  Tfd,  IIRUC, sUT’Id,  and 

Td. 


.3 


18 


AVIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


ciating'  their  worth.*  A similar  origin  and  similar  duties 
are  ascribed  to  tl)e  Four  Castes  in  the  Shanti  Parva  of 
the  Mahabharata  ;f  in  the  Matsya,  Bhagavata,  and  several 
others  of  the  Pnranas  in  the  Jati-Mala,  or  Garland  of 
Castes,  of  authority  in  Bengal  and  the  Upper  Provinces 
of  India,  quoted  by  Mr.  Colebrooke  ;§iii  the  Jati-Viveka, 
or  Discrimination  of  Castes,  of  authority  in  the  West  of 
India  ;11  and  in  the  Sahyadri  Khanda  of  the  Skanda  Pu- 
rana,  the  great  practical  authority  of  the  Maratha  Brah- 
mans.^ This,  in  fact,  is  the  view  taken  of  the  origin  of 
the  four  classes  by  the  Caste  system  now  prevalent 
throuo-htout  the  whole  of  India.  All  other  passages  of- 
the  vShastras,  with  representations  on  the  sulqect  of  a 
different  character, — and  such  there  are  in  abundance, 

* I\[ami  i.  87-91  • In  tins  and  other  quotations  from  the  Hindu 
T.aw  Booh,  I mainly  follow  Sir  William  Jones,  omitting  such  of  his 
expletives  as  arc  not  warranted  by  the  text,  and  bringing  the  render- 
ings sometimes  closer  to  the  original. 

t Mahabharata,  Shanti  Parva  adh.  72.  v.  2723.  Different  ac- 
counts of  the  origin  of  Caste  are  given  in  other  worhs,  including  the 
Pnraoas  and  the  Mahabharata,  which,  to  use  the  words  of  Dr.  John 
]\[uir,  (Original  Sanshrit  Texts  p.  37)  “ is  made  up  of  very  heterogene- 
ous elements,  the.  products  of  different  ages,  and  re})rcsenting  widely 
different  dogmatical  tendencies  which  have  been  thrown  together  by 
the  successive  compilers  or  editors  of  the  work  without  any  regard  to 
their  mutual  consistentcy.” 

In  the  iSIatsya  (adh.  4),  A'amdeva  is  the  name  given  to  the  god 
{hharjavun,  “ the  Avorshiiifuf’)  Avho  (as  Brahma,  according  to  the 
context)  created  the  Castes: — fTSTR 

In  the  Bh^avata,  the  most  orthodo.x  view 
of  the  origin  of  Caste  is  given  in  Skanda  iii.  adh.  v.  33-31. 

§ Colcbrookc's  Essays,  vol.  ii.  p.  177. 

II  There  are  two  forms  of  this  work  now  before  me,  the  larger  and 
smaller. 

^ Saliyadri  Khamla,  A’di  Pahasya,  Chap.  2o. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OE  THE  miAIOIAX. 


19 


as  will  afterwards  appear — arc  contorted  and  interpreted 
in  tlie  light  of  the  dogmas  here  announced.  Caste,  to 
the  ])resent  day,  adheres  to  its  claims  as  set  forth  in 
Manu,  without  essential  compromise  or  concession. 

To  understand  the  subject  of  Caste,  then,  eve  have 
to  keep  the  statements  now  cjuoted  constantly  in  viewn 
For  the  same  purpose,  we  have  to  look  to  the  informa- 
tion given  in  detail  in  the  Slutstras  of  the  Hindus  res- 
pecting the  prerogatives,  privileges,  and  duties  of  these 
the  j)rimary  divisions  of  Caste,  and  which  is  still  approv- 
ed and  acted  u])on,  with  very  slight  modifications  in 
form,  throughout  the  whole  country.  This  we  attempt 
concisely  to  do. 

1.  We  give  a miniature  picture,  in  the  first  instance 
of  the  Brahman. 

The  Shiistras  dwell  much  on  the  pre-eminence  of 
the  Brahman,  both  by  birth  and  original  endowments, 
above  all  the  other  classes  of  man.  “ Since  the  Brah- 
man sprang  from  the  most  excellent  part,  since  he  was 
the  first  born,  and  since  he  possesses  the  Veda,  he  is  by 
right  the  chief  of  this  whole  creation.”  “Him,  the  Being 
who  exists  of  himself  produced  in  the  beginning  from 
his  own  mouth,  that,  having  performed  holy  rites, 
he  might  present  clarified  butter  to  the  gods,  and  cakes 
of  rice  to  the  progenitors  of  mankind,  for  the  preser- 
vation of  this  AYorld.  What  created  being  then  can 
surpass  Him,  with  whose  mouth  the  gods  of  the  firma- 
ment continually  feast  on  clarified  butter,  and  the  manes 
of  ancestors,  on  hallowed  cakes  ? The  very  birth  of 
Brahmans  is  a constant  incarnation  of  Dharma,  (God  of 
religion ;)  for  the  Brahman  is  horn  to  promote  religion, 
and  to  procure  ultimate  happiness.  AVhen  a Brahman 


20 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


springs  to  lig'lit,  he  is  horn  above  tlie  Avorld,  the  cliief  of 
all  creatures,  assigned  to  guard  the  treasury  of  duties, 
religions  and  civil.  Whatever  exists  in  the  universe,  is 
all  in  effect,*  the  wealth  of  the  Brahman,  since  the  Brah- 
man is  entitled  to  it  all  hy  his  primogeniture  and  emi- 
nence of  birth.  The  Bnlhinan  eats  but  his  own  food; 
wears  his  own  apparel ; and  bestows  but  his  own  in  alms: 
through  the  benevolence  of  the  Brahman  indeed,  other 
mortals  enjoy  life.”'"  His  inherent  qualities,  however 
sparingly  they  may  be  developed,  are  “ quiescence,  self- 
control,  devotion,  purity,  patience,  rectitude,  secular 
and  sacred  understanding,  the  recognition  of  spiritual 
existence,  and  the  inborn-disposition  to  serve  Brahma.”! 
In  every  member  of  his  body,  power  and  glory  are  resid- 
ent. The  purifying  Ganges  is  in  his  right  ear  ; his 
mouth  is  that  of  God  himself ; the  devouring  fire  is 
in  his  hand  ; the  holy  Hrthas,  or  places  of  pilgrimage 
are  in  his  right  foot  the  cow-of-plenty  (kdmadhenu ) 
from  which  all  desires  may  be  satisfied,  is  in  the  hairs  of 
his  body.  The  Brahman  is  the  “first-born,”  by  nature 
( agrajanma );  the  “ twice-born”  {duija),  by  the  sacra- 
ment of  the  maiinji ; the  “ deity-on-earth”  {bJmdeva), 
by  his  divine  status  ; and  the  intelligent  one  {yipra),  hv 
his  innate  comprehension.  § 


^ .....  o — common  synonyms  of  the  Amarkosha. 

Ivhanda  ii,  brahmavarga  4. 

§ The  following  verse  from  the  Tlrtha  Mahatmya  has  become  po- 
pular ; — 

trrrT  frlqr'rT  firR  ifr^irR  unrc  l 
URC  uf  #RrR  TT  r>irw  ii 

All  the  Ttrthas  in  the  world  are  in  the  ocean  ; 

All  the  Tirthaa  in  the  ocean  are  in  the  Brahman’s  right  foot. 


f Bhagavad-Gita,  xviii.  42. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  BRAHMAN. 


21 


The  Brahman,  thus  exalted  in  original  position,  is  ac- 
cording to  the  Sinistra,  superior  to  all  law,  even  of  a 
moral  character,  whenever  it  clashes  with  his  wordly  in- 
terests. Even  truth  and  honesty  must  be  dispensed  with 
for  his  peculiar  advantage.  “ In  tlie  case  of  sensual 
gratifications,”  says  ]\lanu,  of  marriages,  of  food  eaten 
by  cows,  of  fuel  for  a sacrifice,  of  benefit  or  protection 
accruing  to  a Brahman,  there  is  no  sin  in  an  oath.”*  “ A 
Brahman”  says  the  same  autliorit}^  “ may  live  by  rita 
and  amrita,  or  by  mrita  and  pramrita,  or  even  by  sat- 
yamrita  (truth  and  faJseliood);  ‘but  never  let  him 
subsist  by  dog-living’  (hired  service.)”!  “A  Brahman 
may  without  hesitation  take  the  property  of  a Shudra. 
He  (the  Shudra)  has,  indeed,  nothing  of  his  own  ; his 
master  may,  doubtless,  take  his  property. To  this  in- 
justice, too,  the  most  horrid  cruelty  may  in  his  case  be 
added  ; for  of  the  most  barbarous  treatment  of  the  lower 
orders,  and,  unbecoming  leniency  to  Brtdimans,  the  Hin- 
du sacred  writings  are  in  no  degree  ashamed.  The}'  actu- 
ally enjoin  this  atrocious  despitefulness.  “ A priest  shall 
be  fined  five  hundred  {panas),  if  he  slander  a soldier ; 
twenty-five,  if  a merchant  ; and  twelve,  if  he  slander  a 
man  of  the  servile  class.  For  abusing  one  of  the  same 
class,  a twice-born  man  shall  be  fined  only  twelve  ; but 
for  ribaldry  not  to  be  uttered,  even  that  shall  be  dou- 

Hence,  the  readiness  to  taste  the  water  in  which  a Brilhinan  has 
washed  his  foot.  In  the  Padma  Parana  (Kriya  yad)iasara,  xx)  it  is  said, 

r^JT'Trfr?’^  ?T'TJTr^^5rr:|  fwpj  || 

— The  bearer  of  a drop  of  water  rvhich  has  been  in  contact  with  a 
Brahman’s  foot  has  all  the  sins  of  his  body  thereby  destroyed. 

* Mann,  viii.  112.  f Mann,  iv.  4.  1 Mann,  viii.  417. 


22 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


l)led.  A once  born  man,  who  insults  the  twice-born 
with  gross  invectives,  ought  to  have  his  tongue  slit ; for 
lie  sprang  from  the  lowest  part  of  Brahm^.  If  he  men- 
tion their  name  and  class  with  contumely,  as  if  he  say 
‘Oil!  Devadatta’ (useless  gift  of  God!)  an  iron  style, 
ten  fino’crs  lono'  shall  betliurst  red  hot  into  his  mouth.” 
“ Shovdd  he,  through  pride,  give  instructions  to  priests 
concerning  their  duty,  let  the  king  order  some  hot  oil  to 
be  drojiped  into  his  moutli  and  ear.”^  ‘^A  man  of  the 
lowest  class,  who  shall  insolently  place  himself  on  the 
same  seat  Avith  one  of  the  highest,  shall  either  be 
banished.  Avith  a mark  on  his  hinder  part  or  the  king 
shall  cause  a gash  to  be  made  on  his  buttock  ; should 
he  s|)it  on  him  through  pride,  the  king  shall  order 
both  of  his  lips  to  be  gashed;  should  he.  .[decency 
requires  the  suppression  of  what  here  folloAvs.]  If  he 
seize  the  Brahman  by  the  locks,  or  by  the  feet,  or  by 
the  beard,  or  by  the  throat,  or  by  the  scrotum,  let 
the  king  Avithout  hesitation  cause  incision  to  be  made 
in  his  hands.”!  Ignominious  tonsure  is  ordained,  instead 
of  capital  punishment,  for  an  adulterer  of  the  priestly 
class;  Avhile  the  punishment  of  other  classes  in  this  case 
may  extend  to  loss  of  life.  ^‘Xevcr  shall  a king  sla}'- 
a Brahman,  though  convicted  of  all  possible  crimes; 
let  him  banish  the  offender  from  his  realm  ; but  Avith  all 
his  property  secure  and  his  body  unhurt.  No  greater 
crime  is  knoAvn  on  earth  than  slaying  a Brahman  ; and 
the  king,  therefore,  must  not  eA^en  form  in  his  mind  an 
idea  of  killing  a priest.”t  “ A Brahman,  Avho,  by  his 


* Manu,  viii.  268-272.  f Maim,  viii.  281-3-28. 

1 Maim,  viii.  379-381. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  liRAIDIAX. 


23 


power  and  through  avarice,  shall  cause  twice-born  men, 
girt  with  the  sacrificial  thread,  to  perform  servile  acts, 
with  their  consent,  shall  be  fined  b}'^  tlic  king  six  hund- 
red But  a man  of  the  servile  class,  whether 

bought  or  unbought,  he  may  compel  to  perform  servile 
duty  ; because  such  a man  was  created  by  the  self-exist- 
ent for  the  purpose  of  serving  Brahmans.  A Shudra, 
though  emancipated  by  his  master,  is  not  released  from 
a state  of  servitude  : for  of  a state  which  is  natural  to 
him,  by  whom  can  he  be  divested  ?”*  The  Brahman, 
even,  is  the  adjudicator  in  his  own  cause, and  need  make 
no  complaint  to  royal  authorities  for  the  punishment 
of  his  enemies,  it  being  left  free  to  himself  to  take  ven- 
geance, t 

The  Brahmans,  as  themselves  the  great  authors  of  the 
preceptive  parts  of  the  Hindu  Shastras,  have  no  feeling 
of  shame  whatever  in  stating  their  pretensions  and  urg- 
ing their  prerogatives.  Only  they  must  now  read  and 
interpret  the  Veda,  wdiich  they  profess  to  be  the  highest 
revelation  of  the  will  of  God.  Their  wrath  is  as  dread- 
fid  as  that  of  the  gods  in  heaven.  They  and  their 
wives,  and  daughters,  are  to  be  worshipped  as  gods  on 
earth. They  allege  that  they  have  in  many  instances, 

* Manu,  viii.  124-1-t.  f Jranu,  xi.  31-32. 

I jwr:  TCfi  T4T  “In  all  ways,  Brahmans  are  to 

be  worshipped:  they  are  a Supreme  Divinity.”  Manu,  ix.  318.  In  the 
Fadma  Parana  (Kriya  yadnasara,  xx)  it  is  said,  “ The  good  man  who 
worships  a Brahman,  moving  round  him  to  the  right  hand,  obtains 
the  merit  of  himself  going  round  the  seven  dwipas  (insular  continents) 
of  the  world.”  In  the  same  Avork,  it  is  said,  that  *•  immoral  Brahmans 
are  to  be  Avorshipped,  but  not  Shudras  though  subduing  tlieir  passions: 
the  coAv  that  eats  things  not  to  be  eaten  is  better  than  the  soav  of  good 
intent.” 


24 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


kicked,  and  beaten,  and  cursed,  and  frightened,  and  de- 
graded the  highest  deities,  and  distressed  and  destroyed 
their  children.  One  of  their  number,  Kashyapa,  they  tell 
ns,  was  the  parent  of  the  sim,  and  another,  of  the 
moon.  Others  of  them,  they  hold,  wrought  great  mar- 
vels in  creation  and  formation.  13rihaspati,  the  instruc- 
tor of  the  gods,  is  said  l)y  them  to  have  turned  the  moon 
into  a cinder,  for  two  kalpas  of  enormous  length  ; and  to 
retain  his  power  over  it  by  covering  it  with  rust,  when  it 
assumes  a ruddy  appearance.  VishvaJcarma,  they  declare, 
dipt  off  the  hands  and  feet  of  the  sun,  to  make  it  round, 
and  cut  it  also  into  twelve  pieces,  in  which  it  appears  in 
the  twelv'e  signs  of  the  zodiac.  The  same  individual,  the 
architect  of  the  gods,  they  assert,  formed  heaven  ; and 
another  of  his  caste  manufactured  a child  of  grass,  which 
Sita,  the  Avife  of  Rama,  could  not  distinguish  from  her 
own  son.  Kashyapa,  already  mentioned,  they  make, 
through  his  different  Avives,  the  parent  of  foAA'ls,  of  beasts 
of  prey,  of  buffaloes,  coays,  and  other  cloA  cn-footed  ani- 
mals ; of  haAvks,  vultures,  and  other  similar  birds  ; of  the 
Apsaras,  or  water-nj-mphs,  serpents,  and  other  reptiles ; of 
trees ; of  evil  beings ; of  the  Gandharvas,  and  of  animals 
Avith  hoofs,*  He,  also,  they  tell  us,  made  fire  ; Avhile 
Bhriyii  imparted  to  it  its  propertj'^  of  consumption;  and 
gUA'e  it  its  capability  of  extinction  ; and  Ayastya, 
the  great  Brahman  missionary  to  the  South  of  India, 
swalloAved  up  the  ocean  at  three  sips,  and  then  passed 
it  impregnated  Avith  salt.  The  achievements  of  the  great 
Brahmans  here  referred  to  are  thus  alluded  to  by  the 
Hindu  lawgiver: — “ 4Vho  Avithout  perishing  could  pro- 


* Bhagavuti  I’uraiiu,  vi.  G ; 2 3-28. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  BRAHMAX. 


25 


Yoke  those  holy  men  by  whom  the  all-devouring  fire  was 
created,  the  sea  with  watei’s  not  drinkable,  and  the  moon 
with  its  wane  and  increase?  what  prince  could  gain  wealth 
by  oppressing  those,  who,  if  angry,  could  frame  other 
worlds  and  regents  of  worlds,  and  could  o-ive  beino'  to 
new  gods  and  mortals  ? W hat  man,  desirous  of  life, 
would  injure  those  by  the  aid  of  whom  worlds  and  gods 
perpetually  exist.”*  The  following  syllogism  has  gained 
universal  currency  in  India  : — 

The  whole  world  is  under  the  power  of  the  gods, 

The  gods  are  under  the  power  of  the  mantras, 

The  mantras  are  under  the  power  of  the  Brahman  ; 

The  Brahman  is  therefore  our  God.”f 

These  fabrications,  which  appear  to  us  so  ridiculous, 
were  intended  to  secure  to  the  Brahmans  veneration  and 
awe.  The  endeavour,  also,  has  been  made  in  the  Shas- 
tra  to  secure  to  them  their  lives.  They  must  not  be  kill- 
ed, as  we  have  seen,  for  the  most  enormous  offences. 
When  an  individual  weeps  for  any  person  whom  they 
may  have  killed,  he  must  make  an  atonement  for  his  in- 
firmity. The  goddess  Durgd  is  pleased  with  the  blood  of 
a man  a thousand  years  ; but  no  Brahman  must  be  sa- 
crificed to  her.  Garuda,  the  bearer  of  Vishnu,  used  to 
eat  every  sort  of  creatures,  except  Brahmans,  who,  if 
swallowed,  would  have  caused  an  insufferable  pain  in  his 
stomach,  as  is  said  to  have  been  exemplified  on  a particu- 
lar occasion.  While  Shudras  may  offer  themselves  as  sa- 
crifices by  what  is  called  the  Kdmya  marana  (voluntary 

« Manu,  ix.  314-316. 

? ^ ar^T'TTvfRr  wcfi'jfr  w ttt'H' 

4 


26 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


death),  Brahmans  are  not  required  to  make  any  such 
consecration  of  themselves.  “ A twice-born  man,”  says 
Mann,  “ who  barely  assaults  a Brahman  with  an  inten- 
tion to  hurt  him  shall  be  whirled  about  for  a century  in 
the  hell  named  Tdmisra ; but  having  smitten  him  in  an- 
ger, and  by  design,  even  with  a blade  of  grass,  he  shall 
be  born  in  one  and  twenty  transmigrations,  from  the 
wombs  of  impure  quadrupeds.”*  Life,  however,  must 
not  only  be  preserved  exceptionally  for  the  favoured ; 
but  it  must  be  rendered  comfortable.  The  Brahmans 
get  all  the  offerings  made  at  the  temples;  and  the  most 
heinous  sins  are  atoned  for  by  giving  them  presents.  If 
a man  sell  his  cow,  he  will  go  to  hell ; if  he  give  her  in 
donation  to  a Brahman  he  will  go  to  heaven.  If  on 
Ganga’s  anniversary  whole  villages  be  given  to  Brah- 
mans, the  person  presenting  them  will  acquire  all  the 
merit  which  can  be  obtained  : his  body  will  be  a million 
of  times  more  glorious  than  the  sun  ; he  will  have  a mil- 
lion of  virgins,  many  carriages,  and  palanquins  with 
jewels ; and  he  will  live  in  heaven  with  his  father  as 
man}’  years  as  there  are  particles  in  the  land  given  to 
Brahmans.  Land  given  to  Brahmans  secures  heaven ; 
a red  cow,  a safe  passage  across  the  boiling  infernal 
river,  Vaitarani;  a house,  a heavenly  palace ; an  um- 
brella, freedom  from  scorching  heat ; shoes,  freedom 
from  pain  when  walking  ; perfumes,  freedom  from 
offensive  smells  ; feasting  of  Brahmans,  particularly  at 
births,  marriages  and  deaths,  the  highest  merit.  If 
a house  be  defiled  by  an  unclean  bird  sitting  down 
upon  it,  it  becomes  pure  when  presented  to  a Brah- 
man. A proper  gift  to  a Brahman  on  a deathbed  will 


« Mann,  iv.  165-166. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OE  THE  RRAHMAX.  ^7 

sdcure  heaven  to  a malefactor.  The  Brahmans  oblige 
the  other  castes,  in  fact,  when  they  condescend  to  receive 
their  presents.*  Money  given  to  them  should  be  dipped 
in  water,  lest  the  latent  glory  of  their  hands  should  burst 
forth  and  consume  the  donor.t 

i\Iost  ob\dous  is  it  that  the  legislation  of  the  Brah- 
mans, embracing  such  matters  and  supported  by  such 
legends  as  those  now  alluded  to,  has  originated  exclusive- 
ly with  their  own  body.  Its  partialities,  and  preferences, 
and  prejudices  are  of  the  grossest  character.  Along 
with  these  enormous  faults,  however,  it  is  but  fair  to  look 
at  the  strict  discipline,  continuous  ceremoniousness,  and 
rio-id  austerities,  which  in  certain  circumstances, — associ- 
ated  with  numerous  puerilities, — it  has  prescribed  for  its 
favourites. 

In  the  first  A shrama,  or  Order,  that  of  the  Brtihmd- 
chcirl,  or  Pupil,  the  Brahman  boy,  must  render  the 
greatest  reverence  and  attention  to  his  priestly  instruc- 
tor, observing  constant  oblations,  and  practising  unceas- 
ing restraints  of  his  appetites-  His  religious  exercises 
must  commence  with  the  morning  twilight ; and,  except 
during  the  times  of  study  and  eating,  they  must  be  con- 

* The  imparting  of  gifts  {ddna)  is  quite  a science  according  to  the 
institutions  of  Caste,  which,  as  far  as  this  matter  is  concerned,  are 
collected  and  explained,  in  all  their  particularities,  in  the  Law  Book 
entitled  the  Dana  Mayitkha. 

f In  thus  mentioning  the  pretensions  of  the  Brahmans,  I have  avail- 
ed myself  of  and  expanded  the  notices  contained  in  my  two  Exposures 
of  Hinduism  in  reply  to  Brahmanical  controversialists.  To  natives  of 
India  acquainted  with  the  Marathi  language  I would  warmly  recom- 
mend IMr.  Nesbit’s  tract  on  the  Brahman’s  Claims,  Avhich  appear- 
ed after  the  Exposures  were  published,  and  in  which  some  of  the 
popular  aspects  of  the  subject  are  commented  on  in  a telling  way. 


28 


WHAT  CASIK  IS, 


tiimed  throughout  the  day.  “Let  the  twice-born  youth,” 
it  is  said,  “who  has  been  girt  with  the  sacrificial  cord, 
collect  wood  for  the  holy  tire,  beg  food  of  his  relations, 
sleep  on  a low  bed,  and  perform  such  offices  as  may 
please  his  preceptor,  until  his  return  to  the  house  of  his 
natural  father.”*  With  devotion  and  austerities  he  is 
ordered  to  study  the  Veda.  He  is  commanded  to  ab- 
stain from  honey,  flesh,  perfumes,  garlands,  vegetable 
juices,  women,  acidulated  substances,  the  killing  of 
animated  beings,  unguents  for  his  limbs,  black  powder 
for  his  eyes,  wearing  sandals,  using  an  umbrella,  sensual 
desires,  wrath,  covetousness,  dancing,  singing,  dice, 
disputes,  detraction,  and  falsehood. t He  is  enjoined  to 
sleep  alone,  and  to  perform  the  duty  of  a religious 
mendicant. 

In  the  second  Order,  that  of  the  Gnhastha  or  House- 
holder, after  the  Brahman  has  chosen,  or  got  chosen, 
for  his  wife,  a girl  whose  form  has  no  defect,  who  has 
an  agreeable  name,  who  walks  like  a goose,J  or  young 
elephant,  whose  hair  and  teeth  are  moderate  in  quantity, 
and  whose  body  is  distinguished  by  softness,  and  who, 
in  the  case  of  the  first  marriage  at  least,  should  be 
of  the  Brahman  class  § he  should  live  with  her  in  the 
strictest  fidelity,  giving  her  elegant  attire,  though  not 
from  the  most  exalted  motive,^  seeking  to  raise  up  a 
family,  embracing  especially  a son,  without  whom,  na- 

* Manu,  ii.  108.  The  other  statements  here  made  are  on  the  au- 
thority of  the  context. 

f Manu,  ii.  167-178. 

I Sir  W.  Jones  makes  this  a phenicopteros,  or  adjutant  bird.  The 
Sanskrit,  however,  is  hansa,  a geese. 

§ Manu,  lii.  12,  17,  etc. 


^ Manu,  in.  68. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  RKAIDIxVX. 


29 


tural  or  adopted,  the  salvation  of  a father  cannot  be 
effected.*  He  has  to  practise  unceasingly  various 
minute  and  burdensome  rites  and  ceremonies,  connected 
witli  study  ; oblations  to  fire  ; the  presentation  of  food 
to  spirits,  through  animated  beings,  particularly  the 
“twice-bom;”  the  entertainment  of  Brahmanical  guests  ; 
and  the  ofl'erinof  of  rice  and  water  to  the  manes  of 
ancestors-t  At  the  Shn'iddhas,  or  reverential  feasts  and 
services  performed  either  for  ancestors  or  for  gods,  he 
has  to  avoid  inviting  or  holding  intercourse  with  par- 
ties labouring  under  any  disease,  deformity,  impotency, 
or  defect  (held  under  the  doctrine  of  the  metempsycosis 
to  be  the  consequence  of  past  crimes),  despising  Brah- 
manical institutes,  or  following  employments  unconge- 
nial with  the  Brahmanical  doctrines  and  practices,  or 
guilty  of  crime^  During  the  feasting,  he  has  to  pre- 
serve his  mind  in  absolute  composure,  for  the  shedding 

* Thougli  tlie  Sanskrit  for  son,  is  putra,  tlie  reciprocal  word  for 
pitar,  {Lat.  pater  a father,)  the  following  fanciful  derivation  of  it,  found- 
ed on  this  doctrine,  is  given  by  Manu,  (ix.  138)  : — “ Since  the  son  de- 
livers ( trdijate)  relieves  his  father  from  the  hell  named  put,  he  was 
therefore  called  patra  by  Brahma  himself  !” 

+ Manu,  iii.  70,  et  seq. 

I Among  the  parties  thus  to  be  avoided  are  the  attendants  upon 
images  {demlaka),  the  sellers  of  flesh,  the  party  supporting  himself  by 
trafiic,  a young  brother  married  before  the  elder  or  vice  versa,  a 
dancer,  the  husband  of  a Shudra,  the  ptipil  or  preceptor  of  a Shiidra, 
a seller  of  the  moon-plant  (used  in  sacrifices),  a navigator  of  the  ocean, 
an  encomiast,  an  oilman,  a maker  of  bows  and  arrows,  a father  in- 
stmcted  in  the  Veda  by  his  son,  a tamer  of  elephants,  bulls,  horses  or 
camels,  an  astrologer,  a keeper  of  birds,  a breeder  of  sporting  dogs,  a 
shepherd,  a keeper  of  buflalocs,  the  husljand  of  a twice-manied 
woman-  Manu,  iii.  150-107. 


30 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  a tear  would  send  the  messes  before  him  to  restless 
spirits  ; anger,  to  foes;  falsehood,  to  dogs;  contact  with 
the  foot  (pada-sparsha),  to  Rakshasas  ; and  agitation, 
to  scoundrels.* * * §  At  the  same  time,  he  has  to  reo-ale  his 
silent  guests  with  readings  from  the  Yeda,  from  the  in- 
stitutes of  law  {Dharma- Shastra) , from  stories,  from 
historical  poems  {Itihdsa,  generally  applied  to  the  Ma- 
habharata,)  from  antiquities  {Piirdnas),  and  from  other 
scriptures. t At  these  ceremonial  offerings  animal  food, 
to  be  ate  by  the  company,  is  declared  to  be  of  more  avail 
in  the  work  of  propitiation  than  vegetables,  a fact  which 
the  Brahmans  of  the  present  day  are  shy  in  admitting.^ 
He  has  to  be  most  particular  about  the  times  of  the 
month  and  day  of  his  religious  services.  “He  must  live, 
Avith  no  injury,  or  AAutli  the  least  possible  injury,  to  ani- 
mated beings,  by  pursuing  those  means  of  gaining  sub- 
sistence Avhich  are  strictly  prescribed  by  law,  except  in 
times  of  distress. Ӥ  He  has  to  keep  his  hair,  nails,  and 

* Manu,  iii.  230.  f Ibid.  iii.  232. 

t “ The  ancestors  of  men  are  satisfied  a whole  month  with  tila,  rice, 
barlej’,  black  lentils  or  vetches,  water,  roots,  and  fruit,  given  with 
prescribed  ceremonies ; two  months,  with  fish  ; three  months,  Avith 
venison ; four  Avith  mutton ; five,  with  the  flesh  of  such  birds  as  the 
tAvice-born  may  eat ; six  months,  Avith  the  flesh  of  kids ; seA^en,  AA'ith 
that  of  spotted  deer,  or  the  antelope,  called  ena  ; nine  AA'ith  that  of  the 

7-uru  ; ten  months  are  they  satisfied  Avith  the  flesh  of  Avild  boars  and 
Avild  buffaloes;  eleA'en  Avith  that  of  rabits  or  hares,  and  of  tortoises;  a 
Avhole  year  with  the  milk  of  coavs,  and  food  made  of  that  milk ; from 
the  flesh  of  the  long-eared  AA'hite  goat,  their  satisfaction  endures  tAA^elve 
A cars.”  Manu,  iii.  267-271. 

§ Manu,  iv.  2.  The  fourth  chapter  in  many  respects  coiTesponds 
with  the  third.  They  appear  to  me  to  have  originally  belonged  to  tAvo 
different  Codes. 


UETIIODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  BRAHMAN.  31 

beard  clipped,  his  passions  subdued  ; his  mantle,  white; 
and  his  body  pure/  He  must  not  gaze  on  the  sun 
whether  rising  or  setting  (unless  in  religious  seiwices),  or 
eclipsed,  or  reflected  in  water,  or  advanced  to  the  middle 
of  the  sky.  He  must  be  reseiwed  in  his  intercourse  with 
his  wife,  and- neither  eat  with  her,  nor  see  her  eating.  He 
must  neither  dishonour  earth,  nor  fire,  nor  water.  He 
must  not  dwell  under  the  govei’nment  of  a Shudra.  He 
must  neither  dance  nor  sing,  nor  play  on  musical  instru- 
ments or  with  dice.  He  must  not  use  the  clothes  or  ves- 
sels which  have  been  used  by  another,  till  they  are 
purified.  The  beasts  ■with  which  he  travels  must  be 
sound,  and  well  trained;  and  he  must  nevxr  bestride  a 
member  of  the  bovine  race.  He  must  not  cut  his  own 
nails  or  hairs.  He  has  to  be  sober  in  his  speech  and 
conduct.  He  has  to  accept  gifts  only  from  Ksha- 
tiiyas  and  Vaishyas;  and  never  from  Shudras.t  He  has 
to  obseiwe  religious  ceremonies  at  night  (when  awake), 
and  at  morn,  noon,  and  evening.  He  has  to  keep  at  a 
distance  from  the  destroyers  of  animals  and  vegetable 
seeds  not  simply  used  in  food.  He  must  suspend  the 
reading  of  the  Vedas  during  thunder,  rain,  earthquakes, 
and  other  atmospheric  and  terrene  changes  and  move- 
ments. He  must  intermit  the  reading  of  the  V eda,  for  a 
day  and  night  when  a beast  of  labour,  a frog,  a cat,  a 
dog,  or  a snake  passes  between  him  and  his  pupil.;]; 
He  is  commanded  to  abstain  from  iniquity,  lest  he 

* Manu,  iv.  35-37. 

t This  is  not  now  the  case,  as  will  be  afterwards  explained, 
t I once  asked  a learned  Pandit,  what  inference  he  was  disposed  to 
draw  from  this  injunction.  He  very  adroitly  said,  “I  should  infer 
that  the  teacher  and  pupil  shoxrld  sit  very  closely  together!" 


32 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


should  be  punished  for  it  either  in  his  own  person  or 
in  those  of  his  descendants.  His  moral  duties  he  has 
to  prefer  to  his  ceremonial  acts,  though  great  excep- 
tions, elsewhere  noticed,  are  made  to  this  rule-  He 
is  not  permitted  to  take  food  from  a servile  man, 
except  raw  grain  for  a single  night  when  it  may 
l>e  necessary  for  the  support  of  his  life.  He  has  to  be 
liberal  in  giving  gifts  to  those  deserving  of  benevolence, 
and  lie  is  not  be  too  proud  of  his  charity.  “By  false- 
hood, sacrifice  becomes  vain ; by  pride,  austerities  go  for 
nought ; by  the  dishonour  of  priests,  life  is  diminished ; 
and  by  the  display  of  charity,  its  frait  is  destroyed.”* 
In  regard  to  food,  the  householder,  as  well  as  other 
Brahmans,  has  to  show  the  greatest  scmpulosity.  He 
must  avoid  eating  garlic,  onions,  leeks,  and  mush- 
rooms,! and  all  vegetables  raised  in  dung,  though  the 
vegetable  processes  know  no  impurity  ; red  gums  and 
resins,  supposed  to  be  like  the  blood  of  animals;  and 
carnivorous  birds  and  quadrupeds,  and  many  others  of 
different  orders.  He  might,  according  to  one  law,  par- 
take of  the  hedgehog,  porcupine,  some  species  of  lizards, 
hares,  and  all  quadrupeds,  camels  excepted,  which  have 

* Mann,  iv.  20t.  See  antliorities  for  the  preceding  statements 
in  the  context. 

t It  is  difficult  to  see  the  reason  of  the  interdiction  of  the  use  of 
these  vegetables,  unless  perhaps  it  is  to  be  found  in  their  strong  smell, 
especially  when  imperfectly  cooked.  The  crime  of  eating  them  seems 
to  have  been  a peculiarly  heinoiis  one  with  the  Hindu  legislators. 
■“  The  twice-born  who  has  intentionally  eaten  a mushroom,  the  flesh  of 
a,  tame-hog,  or  a tame-cock,  a leek,  or  an  onion,  or  garlic,  is  degrad- 
ed immediately.”  Atonements  are  available  for  undesigned  eating. 
Afanu,  V.  19-20. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  BRAHMAN- 


33 


but  one  row  of  teeth.*  According  to  another,  he 
might  use  considerable  latitude  in  the  use  of  flesh-meat : 
— “No  sin  is  committed  by  him  who,  having  honour- 
ed the  deities  and  the  manes,  eats  flesh-meat  Avhich 
he  has  bought,  himself  acquired,  or  had  presented  to  him 
by  another.”t  Yet,  Avithout  these  religious  rites,  he 
Avould  contract  great  sin  by  encouraging  the  slaughter  of 
animals,  which,  in  the  main,  is  strongly  disapproved  of 
by  the  legislators  and  not  noAV  generally  resorted  to.| 
He  has  to  submit  to  great  inconveniences  from  ceremo- 
nial defilement  caused  by  the  birth  and  death  of  rela- 
tives and  connections  of  various  degrees,  and  by  the 
touch  of  the  lowly  Chandala,  and  of  all  parties  in  a 
state  of  ceremonial  impurity.  § The  duties  prescribed 
for  the  Brahman  householder,  in  short,  are  such  as  must 
keep  him  ever  busy,  ever  on  the  alert,  and  ever  scru- 
pulous and  cautious. 

The  Vdnajprastha,  the  Hermit  of  the  Wilderness,  the 
Brahman  in  the  third  A'shrama,  must  be  a vast  deal  more 
selfdenied  and  restricted  than  the  Householder.  At 
the  approach  of  old  age  he  must  abandon  his  family  and 

* Manu,  V.  18.  f Manu,  v.  32. 

I The  general  doctrine  of  Manu  on  this  subject  may  be  understood 
from  the  Ibllowing  passages  : — “ Flesh-meat  cannot  be  procured  with- 
out injury  to  animals,  and  the  slaughter  of  animals  obstructs  the 
path  to  beatitude;  from  flesh-meat  therefore  let  man  abstain.  He  who 
consents  to  the  death  of  an  animal,  he  who  kills  it,  he  who  dissects  it, 
he  who  buys  it,  he  Avho  sells  it,  he  who  dresses  it,  he  who  serves  ifc 
up,  and  he  who  makes  it  his  food ; these  are  eight  principals  in  the 
slaughter.”  Manu,  v.  48-51. 

§ Manu,  V.  85,  et  seq.  For  the  special  laws  on  these  matters,  see 
the  Mayukha  under  Shaucha  and  Ashaucha  (purity  and  impurity). 


3f 


^rHAT  CASTE  IS. 


worldly  affairs.  He  must  not  only  feed  on  herbs,  ffuits, 
and  roots,  but  use  them  in  sacrifice.  He  must  wear  a 
black  antelope’s  hide,  or  a vesture  of  the  bark  of  a tree  ; 
and  suffer  his  hair,  beard,  and  nails  to  grow  continually. 
He  must  be  constantly  engaged  in  reading  the  Veda, 
and  in  other  religious  exercises.  His  devotion  must  be 
varied  by  austerities.  “Let  him  slide  backwards  and 
forAvards  on  the  gTound ; or  let  him  stand  a whole  day 
on  tiptoe  ; or  let  him  continue  in  motiorr  rising’  and  sit- 
tirrg  alter-nately ; birt  at  surrrise,  at  noon,  and  at  sunset, 
let  him  go  to  the  waters  and  bathe-  Irr  the  hot  season 
let  him  sit  exposed  to  five  fires;  in  the  rairrs  let  him 
stand  rrncovered  where  the  clouds  pour  the  heaviest 
showers  ; in  the  cold  season  (when  the  evaporation 
cairsed  by  the  dry  air  is  excessive)  let  hinr  wear  humid 
vesture;  and  let  him  encrease  by  degrees  the  austerity 
of  his  devotion.”'  Abandorring  the  use  of  all  means 
of  gratification,  he  rrrust  for  the  pur-pose  of  uniting  his 
soul  with  the  Divine  Spirit,  errgage  irr  meditation,  and 
study  the  sacred  Upanis^hach,  or  philosophical  pantheis- 
tic treatises.  Shuffling  off  his  body,  if  he  is  attacked 
by  disease  by  any  of  these  rrreans, — he  is  given  to  urr- 
derstand, — he  will  rise  to  exaltation  irr  the  divirre  es- 
serrce.t 

The  Sannijasi,  or  Arrcfiorite,  in  the  foirrth  A 'shrama, 
has  to  improve  uporr  the  course  now^  meirtiorred,  practis- 
ifig  contemplation,  however,  more  tharr  atrsterities. 
Dehghted  with  meditating  orr  the  Supreme  Spirit,  beiirg 
fixed  in  such  meditatiorr,  v.ithout  needing  anything 
earthly,  withoirt  one  seirsrral  desire,  Avithoutany  cornparr- 


“ Manu,  vi.  22-2-3. 


f Manu,  vi.  32,  etc, 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  P.RAHAIAX 


ion  to  his  own  soul,  let  him  live  in  this  world  seeking 
the  bliss  of  the  next,  “absolute  absorption.”  “His 
hair,  nails,  and  beard  being  clipped,  bearing  with  him 
a dish,  a staff,  and  a waterpot,  his  whole  mind  being 
fixed  on  God,  let  him  wander  about  continually,  with- 
out giving  pain  to  living  beings,”"^  either  vegetable  or 
animal.  Once  a day  only  he  has  to  ask  for  food ; and 
that  ought  to  be  at  a late  hour.  Meditating  [in  gross 
delusion]  on  the  identity  of  his  outi  spirit  with  that  of 
the  Supreme,  and  seeking  reunion,  he  is  to  be  ready 
cheerfully  to  leave  the  cumbersome  and  miserable  body,! 

The  profession  by  the  Bralmians,  that,  with  certain 
nonessential  modifications,  thev  have  still  this  sacred  cha- 
racter,  and  that  they  follow  these  injunctions,  esteemed 
divine,  gives  them  a powerful  hold  of  the  mind  of  India, 
C[uite  independently  of  their  pretensions  to  pre-eminence 
which  we  have  noticed  at  the  commencement  of  this 
heading.  Its  natural  effects  are  often  too  little  regarded 
in  the  estimate  of  the  religious  and  social  forces  by 
which  we  are  surrounded  in  India.  With  Brahmanical 
discipline  and  pursuits,  there  is  much  sympathy,  even 
on  the  part  of  those  large  portions  of  the  community'' 
which  are  legally  debarred  from  participating  in  them. 
There  is  an  admiration  and  approval  of  the  Brahman 
among  the  people,  as  well  as  much  dread  and  distmst  of 
him,  and  contempt  of  him  for  his  extravagant  claims 
in  connexion  with  his  status  and  prerogatives.  Hence, 

* Mann,  vi.  49-52. 

t The  notice  taken  of  the  four  ashrams  in  the  Puranas,  is  quite  accord- 
ant with  that  of  the  Law  Books.  See,  for  exampk,  Wilson’s  Vishnu 
Parana,  pp.  294-296 


WII  AT  CASTE  IS- 


-3G 

the  attempt,  in  late  centuries  especially,  of  multitudes 
precluded  from  all  priestly  services,  to  become  wander- 
ing saints  and  devotees  of  various  orders  and  grades. 
There  is  very  great  deference  shown  to  the  Brahman, 
even  in  the  view  of  the  fact  that  he  is  now  left  with- 
out a legal  remedy  for  enforcing  in  his  own  behalf 
the  unjust  laws  which  he  has  made  connected  with  his 
own  life,  honor,  and  support.  I add  another  observa- 
tion to  this  remark.  I have  a strong  impression  on  my 
mind  that  a great  deal  of  the  Brahmanical  legislation 
was,  from  the  first,  intended  only  for  effect,  and  that  it 
was  never  designed  to  be  carried  into  execution  as  far 
as  the  priestly  practice  itself  was  concerned.  An  intel- 
ligent native  writer  in  the  Calcutta  Review  justly  sa}"s, 
“Those  who  arrogate  to  themselves  great  honors,  must 
at  least  profess  to  be  guided  by  a more  elevated  stand- 
ard of  duty  than  their  neighbours.  A man  who  prides 
himself  on  the  greatness  of  his  origin  must  admit,  that 
it  behoveth  him  to  observe  higher  principles  of  morali- 
ty, than  those  over  whom  he  affects  superiority.  The 
Brahmans  have  accordingly  laid  down  severe  rules  for 
tlie  government  of  their  order.  Whether  the  authors  of 
the  Shastras  intended,  that  their  austere  rules  should  be 
followed  out  in  practice,  or  whether  they  merely  propos- 
ed to  exhibit  their  idea  of  priestly  dignity  without  intend- 
ing to  realize  it,  it  k not  easy  to  determine.  One  thing, 
however,  is  certain,  that  as  the  Brahman  acknowledged 
no  earthly  superior,  he  had  little  apprehension  of  his  de- 
linquencies being  severely  visited.  He  could  not  be 
called  to  account  for  departing  from  his  maxims,  because 
no  one  was  at  liberty  to  judge  him.  An  austere  rule  of 
life  could  therefore  prove  no  greater  restraint  on  his  in- 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  KSIIATllTYA. 


clinations,  than  he  himself  [or  the  priestly  community 
of  -which  he  was  a member]  chose  to  allow  *” 

2.  From  the  Brahman,  we  pass  to  the  Kshatriya, 
the  Warrior, 'or  rather,  as  will  be  afterwards  explained, 
the  Ruler  or  Prince. 

According  to  the  orthodox  view  of  Caste,  the  Ksha- 
triya is  derived  from  the  arms  of  the  god  Brahma, f in 
the  same  way  as  the  Brahman  is  derived  from  his  liead. 
This  explanation  of  the  origin  of  the  Kshatriya,  how- 
ever, is  not  consistently  adhered  to,  even  in  the  Law 
Books,  which  are  the  great  support  of  the  Caste  system. 
In  the  seventh  chapter  of  the  Code  of  Manu,  which  is 
evidently  intended  for  the  use  of  the  ruling  authorities, 
the  ereation  and  glory  of  the  prince  is  thus  set  forth  : — 
“ Since  the  -vsmrld  destitute  of  a king  quaked  on  all 
sides,  the  Lord  created  a king  for  the  maintenance 
of  this  system,  both  religious  and  civil,  forming  him 
of  eternal  particlest  drawn  from  [the  gods]  Indra, 
Anila  (Vayu),  Yama,  Arka  (Surya),  Agni,  Varuna, 
Chandra,  and  Vittesha  (Kuvera)  : and  since  a king  was 
composed  of  particles  drawn  from  these  chief  guar- 
dian deities,  he  consequently  surpa,sses  all  beings  in 
glory.  Like  the  sun,  he  burns  eyes  and  hearts ; nor 
can  any  human  creatures  on  earth  gaze  on  him.  He  is 
fire  and  air;  he,  both  sun  and  moon  ; he  the  god  of  retri- 
butive justice  (Yama)  ; he  the  god  of  w'ealth  (Kuvera)  ; 
he  the  regent  of  waters  (Varuna);  he  the  lord  of  the  firm- 
ament. A king,  even  though  a child,  must  not  be 

* Calcutta  Review,  1851,  p.  53.  I See  above,  page  17. 

t Mdtra  in  the  singular,  corresponding  (etymologically)  with  the 
Latin  materia  and  our  own  matter. 


38 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


treated  liglitly,  from  an  idea  tliat  he  is  a mere  mortal  ; 
no,  he  is  a powerful  divinit}'^  who  appears  in  human- 
shape.”"  “ The  natural  duties  of  the  Kshatriya,”  ac- 
cording to  the  Bhagavad-Gita,  “ are  heroism,  splendour, 
pertinacity,  policy,  not  fleeing  in  battle,  liberality,  and 
fitness  to  govern.”t  Other  \dews  of  his  creation  and  glory 
will  afterwards  fall  to  be  alluded  to.  The  Brahmans,  while 
setting  forth  their  own  pre-eminence  and  superiority, 
knew  how  to  flatter  the  powerful  and  wealthy  of  their 
own  race,  in  varied  ways  not  very  consistent  with  the 
o-eneral  doo’matic  announcements  which  were  most  con- 
sistent  w'ith  the  religious  system  wdiich  they,  sought  to 
uphold. 

The  Kshatriya,  according  to  what  has  now  been  said, 
is  set  forth  in  the  Law  Books  as  the  essence  of  majesty 
and  power;  and  as  the  great  dispenser  ot  justice,  particu- 
larly in  the  matter  of  punishment,  of  which  he  is  the  per- 
sonal manifestation  {purushodanda),  and  which,  though 
needed  both  by  gods  and  men,  is  to  be  leniently  applied 
to  Brahmans.|  He  is  to  be  the  protector  of  the  various 
Castes  attending  to  their  prescribed  duties. § In  dis- 
charging his  functions,  he  has  to  abide  by  the  decision  of 
learned  Brahmans.1l  He  must  cultivate  humility  and  be 
warned  by  the  examples  of  kings  who,  in  the  lack  of  it, 
have  involved  themselves  in  ruin.  He  is  enjoined  to  seek 
sacred  and  secular  knowledge  from  the  Brahmans,  and 

* ]\Ianu,  vii.  3-8.  Some  of  the  gods  here  mentioned  are  contem- 
plated in  aspects  different  from  those  in  which  they  are  exhibited  in 
the  Vedas. 

t Bhagavad-Gita,  xviii.  43. 

§ Mann,  vii.  35. 


I jMann,  vii.  17-32. 
^ Ibid.  vii.  37. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  KSHATIHYA. 


39 


to  avoid  various  kinds  of  immoralities  and  sensualities. 

He  is  recommended  to  choose  eight  ministers,  some  of 
whom  are  to  be  versed  in  the  sacred  books,  and  others,  in  « 
the  art  of  war.  The  ambassador  ( data ) selected  by 
him  should  be  skilled  in  all  the  Shastras.  He  should 
live  in  a capital  surrounded  by  a desert,  and  otherways 
difficult  of  approach,  and  well-defended  by  fortifications, 
his  own  palace  being  in  its  centre.  His  wife  should  be  of 
his  own  class  ( varna),  and  of  good  descent  and  agreeable 
person.  He  must  appoint  a domestic  priest  (purolntd*). 
and  be  liberal  in  sacrifices  and  in  gifts  to  Brahmans. 

“An  offering  in  the  mouth  of  a Brahman,”  he  is  told; 

“is  far  better  than  offerings  to  holy  fires;  it  never  drops; 
it  never  dries;  it  is  never  consumed. ”f  In  battle  he 
must  be  brave,  resolute,  and  generous.  He  must  subor- 
dinate to  one  another  the  various  districts  in  his  reedm. 

He  must  raise  taxes  from  his  subjects  according  to 
their  means;  but,  though  even  dying  with  want,  he 
must  not  receive  any  tax  from  a Brahman  learned  in 
the  Vedas,  while  at  the  same  time  he  must  suffer 
no  such  Brahman  to  die  of  hunger, j;  The  season  of 
the  year  most  favourable  for  weather  and  croj)s,  he 
must  choose  for  his  warlike  campaigns.  His  troops  he 
lias  to  march  in  varied  lines,  and  according  to  vai'ied 
fioures,.  with  considerable  skill,  formino:,  when  thouolit 
expedient,  a van,  a reargaiard,  and  a mainbody,  and  also 
wings  and  a centre.  His  ordinary  soldiers, — who  it  would 
appear,  might  have  been  of  varied  ti’ibes  and  castes, — 
he  was  to  dispose  of  in  battle  according  to  their  capaci- 
ties. “ Men  born  in  Kurukslietra,  in  Matsya,  in  Pan- 


* Literally,  a foreuiaa.  f Mann,  vii.  84. 


\ IMaiiu,  vii. 


40 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


chala,  and  in  Shiirasena,”  he  is  required  to  engage  in 
the  van,  and  other  men  who  are  tall  and  lio'ht.”*  He 
has  to  respect  the  deities  and  Brahmans  of  conquered 
countries,  and  to  appoint  over  them  a prince  of  his  own 
race  ( vansha).  To  his  neighbours  who  support  his  cause, 
he  has  to  practise  kindness;  and  for  self-preservation,  he 
has  to  be  ready  to  part  with  his  dominions  and  even  with 
his  family  wdien  required.  “Against  misfortune  let  him 
jireserve  his  wealth ; at  the  expense  of  his  wealth,  let  him 
preserve  his  wife ; but  at  all  events  let  him  preserve 
himself,  even  at  the  hazard  of  his  wife  and  riches.”!  His 

* Manu,  vii.  193. 

f Manu,  vii.  213.  The  principle  here  involved  is  applied  to  all 
classes  of  the  Hindus  as  well  as  to  Kshatriyas.  The  Brahmans  have 
embodied  it  in  the  following  Sanskrit  proverb  : — 

'TTTf  ^ 5TCC  'TT:  H 

“ Preserve  your  wife,  preserve  you  pelf ; 

But  give  them  both  to  save  yourself : 

There's  other  rvealth,  another  wife  ; 

But  where  is  there  another  life?” 

By  a slight  change  (by  a Pandit  from  the  West),  this  wise-saying 
can  be  reversed  in  favour  of  the  poor  wife  : — 

u^rVrfr  ^ i 

T^nVr  ^ 'IT;  IT:  l| 

“ Preserve  your  man,  preserve  your  pelf ; 

But  give  them  both  to  save  yoru'self; 

There’s  other  wealth,  and  other  men ; 

But  who  shall  see  this  life  again?” 

For  a short  comment  on  these  versicles,  see  a paper  by  the  late  Rev. 
E.  Nesbit  in  the  Oriental  Christian  Spectator,  Sept.  1812. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  KSHATRIYA. 


41 


religious  and  domestic  duties  be  has  to  attend  to  in  their 

O 

own  relations.  After  ablution  he  has  to  eat  at  noon, 
taking  food  prepared  by  faithful  servants  skilled  in  the 
differences  of  times  (lucky  and  unlucky),  and  hallowed 
by  texts  repulsive  of  poison.  He  may  then^  divert  himself 
with  his  women  in  the  inner  apartments,  taking  due 
care,  however,  lest  he  should  be  betrayed  by  them.  At 
sunset,  after  having  performed  his  religious  duty,  he 
should  deal  with  spies  and  emissaries  in  retirement.* 
When  unable  personally  to  inspect  his  affairs,  he  may 
commit  the  superintendence  of  them  to  a Brahman. t 
From  the  Brahman,  but  never  from  a Shudra,  he  has 
to  seek  the  interpretation  of  law.  “ Of  that  king, 
who  stupidly  looks  on  while  a Shudra  decides  causes, 
the  kingdom  shall  sink  like  a Cow  in  deep  mire.”|  The 
king  is  the  guardian  of  all  property,  including  that  of 
minors,  and  the  owner  of  the  half  of  treasure-trove  (the 
other  half  belonging  to  Brahmans) , except  that  found  by 
a learned  Brahman,  who  may  take  it  without  any  deduc- 
tion, as  he  is  the  lord  of  all.  He  also  receives  the  wealth 
of  all  other  classes  on  the  failure  of  heirs,  except  that  of 
Brahmans,  which  must  go  to  their  own  community 
without,  in  any  case,  being  escheated. § He  is  the  upholder 
of  the  Caste  laws,  and  customs  of  the  various  classes  of  the 
community,^  in  so  far  as  practised  by  good  men  and  vir- 
tuous Brahmans,  and  not  inconsistent  with  local  usages. 
In  the  dispensation  of  justice,  the  king  himself  is  not  to 
be  made  a witness  ; and  he  has  also  to  make  an  exemption, 


* Manu,  vii.  ad  finem.  f Mann,  viii.  9.  J Mami,  viii.  21. 
§ Manu,  iv.  189.  ^ Manu,  viii.  37-38. 


6 


42 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


generally,  in  the  matter  of  giving  testimony  to  certain 
classes  of  people,  some  of  whom  are  thought  too  humble, 
and  some  too  great,  to  appear  as  witnesses.*  He  has  to 
order  the  administration  of  oaths,  or  ordeals,  to  competent 
witnesses,  with  considerable  solemnity  from  the  Indian 
point  of  view;  with  a due  regard  to  the  comparative  dig- 
nity of  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras; 
and  with  the  recognition  of  injur}'-  said  to  accrue  both 
to  ancestors  and  posterity  from  the  speaking  of  false- 
hood, except  when  a pious  motive  intervenes,  when  this 
sin  is  found  not  to  be  contracted  even  by  perjury.t  The 
legislation  by  which  he  is  to  be  guided,  in  these  matters,  to 
use  the  words  of  Sir  William  Jones,  is  “a  system  of  despo- 
tism and  priestcraft,  both  indeed  limited  by  law,  but  art- 
fully conspiring  to  give  mutual  support,  though  with 
mutual  checks;  it  is  filled  with  strange  conceits  in  meta- 
physics and  natural  philosophy,  with  idle  superstitions, 
and  with  a scheme  of  theology  most  obscurely  figurative, 
and  consequently  liable  to  dangerous  misconception ; it 
abounds  with  minute  and  childish  formalities,  with  cere- 
monies generally  absurd  and  often  ridiculous ; the  punish- 
ments are  partial  and  fanciful ; for  some  crimes  dreadfulh' 
cruel,  for  others  reprehensibly  slight ; and  the  very  mo- 
rals, though  rigid  enough  on  the  whole,  are,  in  one  or 

* Among  the  latter  class  are  specified  in  Manu,  (viii.  65)  the  learn- 
'ed  in  the  three  Vedas,  Brahmans  waiting  on  the  sacred  fire,  and  reli- 
gious devotees  who  have  abandoned  the  world.  It  is  Tn  consequence 
of  the  principle  here  involved  that  the  BhaJjd  and  other  natwe  mer- 
chants of  Bombay  are  claiming  the  right  of  their  high-priests 
(^Maharajas,  or  great  kings !)  to  decline  attendance  on  the  courts  of  law. 

I Manu,  viii.  66-112.  See  also  above,  p.  21. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  KSHATKIYA. 


43 


two  instances,  (as  in  the  case  of  light  oaths  and  of  pious 
purjury)  [just  alluded  to]  unaccountably  relaxed. It  is 
interesting-  to  notice,  in  the  view  of  these  faults  and  de- 
fects, that,  in  regard  to  the  boundaries  of  property,  evi- 
dence taken  is  to  be  recorded  in  writing  ;t  and  that  the 
lowest  classes  of  the  population  may  be  useful  in  giv- 
ing testimony  in  this  matter.  Punishments  inflicted  are 
to  descend  with  violence  inversely  as  the  station  in 
caste  of  the  offenders.  A Kshatriya  defaming  a Brah- 
man shall  be  fined  a hundred  [panas~\  ; a Vaishya, 
an  hundred  and  fifty,  or  two  hundred ; bat  a Shu- 
dra  [acting  in  this  way]  shall  be  corporally  punished. 
A Brahman  shall  be  fined  fifty,  if  he  slander  a Ksha- 
triya ; twenty-five,  if  a Vaishya  ; and  twelve,  if  a Shu- 
dra.|  Fines  for  theft  are  to  be  inflicted  in  proportion  to 
the  status  in  Caste  of  the  party  offending.^  Adultery 
is  be  treated  with  much  severity,  the  punishment  being 
a cruel  death  to  be  inflicted  on  the  lower  orders  trans- 
gressing with  the  higher.  Punishments  by  kings  are 
said  to  form  atonements  for  the  guilty.  “ Men  who 
have  committed,  and  have  received  from  kings  the  pu- 
nishment due  to  them,  go  to  pure  heaven,  and  become  as 
clear  as  those  who  have  done  well.”^  This  dictum,  which 
removes  man  from  his  responsibility  to  God,  has  taken 
a great  hold  of  the  popular  mind  in  India.  N ative  mu  - 
sicians  attend  the  capital  executions  of  the  vilest  crimi- 
nals throughout  the  country,  seeking  to  introduce  them 
into  the  other  world  with  joy  and  rejoicing,  simply  be- 

* Preface  to  the  Institutes  of  Manu.  | Manu,viii.  255-266. 

t Manu,  viii.  267-268.  § Ibid.  337-8.  If  Manu,  Tiii.  318. 


44 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


causs  they  view  their  death  by  the  public  sentence  of  the 
law  as  an  atonement  for  all  their  transgressions. 

It  is  the  duty  of  the  princely  Kshatriya  to  keep  the 
Castes  below  himself  clo.se  to  the  works  respectively  pres- 
cribed for  them.  He  should  order  the  Vaishya  to  prac- 
tise trade,  or  money-lending,  or  agriculture  and  at- 
tendance on  cattle  ; and  the  Shudra  to  act  in  the  service 
of  the  twice-born.  It  is  incumbent  upon  him  to  regu- 
late all  market  prices,  with  a due  regard  to  the  interests 
of  the  buyer  and  seller.'^'  This  principle  of  Caste  law  is 
the  foundation  of  the  demand  often  made  on  govern- 
ment to  interfere  in  matters  of  sale  and  trade.  The 
doctrines  of  Adam  Smith  were  not  in  vogue  when  the 
laws  attributed  to  Mann  were  reduced  to  a Code. 

It  is  also  the  duty  of  the  Kshatriya  to  aid  the  male 
portion  ofthe  community  in  maintaining  its  lordship  over 
the  female  portion.  This  is  a matter  of  much  consequence 
with  the  Hindus ; and  it  is  so  intimately  connected  with 
Caste  that  it  may  be  proper  onwards  to  devote  to  it  a 
separate  section  of  this  work- 

3.  Leaving  the  Kshatriya,  in  the  meantime,  we  pro- 
ceed to  notice  the  Vaishya,  who  is  the  Cattle  keeper, 
the  Agriculturist,  and  the  Merchant. 

In  a passage  in  the  Code  of  Manu,  already  referred 
to,  it  is  said  that  to  keep  herds  of  cattle,  to  bestow 
largesses,  to  sacrifice,  to  read  the  scripture,  to  carry  on 
trade,  to  lend  at  interest,  and  to  cultivate  land  are  the 

* Manu,  riii.  401.  Difficulties  in  regard  to  this  matter  are  often 
felt  by  our  own  officials,  particularly  in  the  matter  of  grain.  For  hints 
as  to  the  removal  of  these  difficulties,  see  Colonel  Sleeman’s  Rambles 
and  Recollections,  vol.  i.  chap.  24. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  VAISHYA- 


45 


duties  of  a Vaiahya”*  “The  natural  duties  of  the 
Vaishya,”  says  the  Bhagavad-Gita,  “are  agriculture, 
keeping  of  cattle,  and  the  practice -of-merchandise.”t 
Respecting  these  duties,  indeed,  without  any  hints  as  to 
their  comparative  importance,  the  information  of  the  lat- 
er Sanskrit  books  is  throughout  self-consistent. 

In  the  Law  Books,  the  general  ordinances  affecting 
the  Vaishya  are  such  as  the  following.  After  perform- 
ing the  initiatory  sacraments,  ending  with  that  of  the 
sacrificial  thread,  and  marrying  a wife  of  his  own  class, 
he  should  be  attentive  to  his  proper  business,  especially 
that  of  cattle-keeping,  which  he  is  by  no  means  to  over- 
look, as  the  Lord-of-men  has  committed  cattle  to  his 
trust  in  the  same  way  as  he  has  committed  men  to  that 
of  the  Brahman  and  the  Kshatriya.  He  must  never  say, 
“ I keep  charge  of  no  cattle  nor  must  others  super- 
sede him  in  this  charge  while  he  is  willing  to  undertake 
it.  With  the  prices  of  mercantile  commodities  he  has 
to  be  acquainted,  especially  of  gems,  pearls,  coral,  iron, 
cloth,  perfumes  and  liquids.  He  has  to  be  skilled  in 
sowing  seeds,  in  the  qualities  of  land,  in  weights 
and  measures,  in  the  excellence  and  defects  of  articles  of 
trafl&c,  in  the  advantages  and  disadvantages  of  different 
districts,  in  the  probable  gain  and  loss  on  goods,  in  the 
breeding  of  cattle,  in  the  wages  of  servants,  in  the  va- 
rious languages  of  men,|  in  the  best  places  for  keeping 

* See  above,  p.  17,  where  the  words  “ to  cultivate  lands”  are,  by  an 
error,  omitted. 

t Bhagavad-Gita,  xviii.  43. 

t This  intimates  a diversity  of  language  in  Ancient  India,  and  per- 
haps in  the  bordering  cou.ntries  holding  intercourse  with  it. 


46 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


goods,  and  ill  all  measures  for  effecting  purchase  and  sale. 
The  augmentation  of  his  wealth  should  command  his 
vigilant  care  and  solicitude,  while  he  is  attentive  to  the 
giving  of  nourishment  to  all  sentient  creatures.*  Con- 
siderable intelligence  and  ingenuity  seem  to  have  been 
requisite  for  the  Vaishya’s  duties.  Let  this  be  marked  as 
an  indication  of  the  state  of  society  when  the  Hindu 
Law  Books  were  composed. 

\ . 4.  We  conclude  this  sketch  by  referring  to  the  legal 

position  of  the  Shadra. 

In  illustration  of  this  position,  especially  when  com- 
pared with  that  of  his  great  master,  the  Brahman,  some 
notices  have  already  been  given  by  us.  The  principal 
duty  assigned  to  the  Shudra  is  that  of  serving  the 
Brahman,  the  Kshatriya,  and  the  Vaishya,  especially 
the  Brahman,  for  whose  advantage,  principally,  he  has 
been  created.  Throughout  the  Law  Books,  he  is 
viewed  as  a domestic  slave,  to  whom  servitude  is  natural 
and  of  which  he  cannot  be  divested,  and  whose  pro- 
peidy  even  is  at  the  disposal  of  his  master.!  From  his 
daily  engagements  in  the  family  of  his  superiors,  it  is 
obvious  that  ceremonial  ablution  was  not  required  to 
be  the  consequence  of  simple  contact  with  him.  His 
religious  degradation,  however,  is  complete  according 
to  Hindu  legislation.  On  the  Brahman  the  following 
injunctions  are  laid  in  Manu  : — “ Let  him  not  give  ad- 
vice to  a Shudra,  nor  (except  to  his  own  servant)  what 
remains  from  his  own  table  ; nor  clarified  batter  of 
which  part  has  been  offered  (to  the  gods),  nor  let  him 


* Manu,  ix.  326-333. 

! See  above,  pp.  17,  21,  23.  Manu  viii.  413-114.  x.  121-123. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  SlirOHA. 


47 


give  spiritual  counsel  to  such  a man,  nor  inform  him  of 
the  legal  expiation  for.  his  sin.  Surely  -he.  who 
declares  the  law^  to  a servile  man,  and  he  who  instructs 
him  in  the  mode  of  expiating  sin  sinks  with  that  very 
man  into  the  hell  named  Asaimaita.”*  A Brahman 
is  never  to  be  the  preceptor  of  a Shudra.f  While  the 
first  part  of  a Brahman’s  compound  name  should  indi- 
cate holiness ; of  a Kshatriya’s,  power;  and  of  a Vai- 
shya’s,  wealth,— that  of  a Shiidra  should  indicate  con^ 
tempt|.  The  V Ma  is  never  to  be  read  in  the  presence  of 
a Shudra  ;§  and  for  him  no  sacrifice  is  to  be  performed.^ 
“He  has  no  business  with  solemn  rites.”**  “They  w^ho 
receive  property  from  a Shudra  for  the  performance  of 
rites  to  consecrated  fire  are  contemned,  as  ministers  of 
the  base.”tt  His  gifts,  now  so  acceptable  to  the  Brah- 
man, were  received  of  old  only  in  the  most  limited  de- 
gree, when  the  Brahman,  who  had  no  other  means  to  live, 
might  take  from  him  raw  grain  enough  for  a single 
night. U In  one  law,  it  is  thus  written: — “ Shudras,  en- 
gaged in  religious  duties,  must  perform  each  month  the 
ceremony  of  shaving  their  heads;  their  food  must  be 
the  orts  of  Brahmans;  and  their  mode  of  purification  the 

’ Manu,  iv.  80-81.  Sir  William  Jones,  partly  on  the  authority 
of  Kulluka  Bhatta,  a modern  commentator  on  Manu,  has  here  made 
some  interpolations  inconsistent  with  the  passage  as  referring  to  Brah- 
mans, and  with  its  context. 

t Manu,  iii.  156.  f Manu,  ii.  31.  § Manu,  iv.  99. 

f Manu,  iii.  178.  **  Manu,  xi.  13.  ff  Manu,  xi.  42. 

It  Manu,  iv.  222.  In  Manu  xi  24.  it  is  said,  " Let  no  Brahman 
ever  beg  a gift  from  a Shudra;  for  if  he  perform  a sacrifice  after  such 
Legging,  he  shall,  in  the  next  life,  be  born  a Chandala.” 


48 


WHAT  CASTE  IS- 


same  with  that  of  a Vaisliya  but  this  legislation  is 
not  consistently  regarded.  “ A Brahman  is  purified  by 
water  that  reaches  his  bosom ; a Kshatriya,  by  water 
descending  to  his  throat ; a Vaishya,  by  water  taken 
into  his  mouth  ; a Shudra,  by  water  touched  by  an  ex- 
tremity.”! Graduation  in  Caste,  indeed,  is  preserved 
in  every  act  and  in  every  ceremony.  While,  for  exam- 
ple, the  stick  with  which  a Brahman  rinses  his  teeth,  is 
to  be  twelve  inches  long  ; that  of  a Kshatriya  is  to  be 
eleven;  that  of  a Vaishya,  ten;  and  that  of  a Shudra, 
nine.  When  a Brahman,  to  remove  a natural  defilement, 
is  to  make  five  applications  of  clay  ; a Kshatriya  is  to 
make  four;  a Vaishya,  three ; and  a Shudra,  and  a wo- 
man, two. I Much  is  to  be  found  in  the  “ sacred  books” 
in  the  spirit  of  these  injunctions.  It  is  curious  to  notice 
that  a Brahman  is  represented  as  on  a level  with  a Shu- 
dra, in  religious  status,  till  his  “ new  birth  from  revealed 
scripture  ;Ӥ  and  that  he  has  to  view  the  state  of  a Shudra 
as  the  ultimatum  of  his  own  degradation  in  the  case  of 
the  greatest  offences.1I 

A In  the  greatest  events  of  life  and  death,  the  privileges 
of  a Shudra  are  of  a very  restricted  character.  He  must 
not  marry  in  any  Caste  superior  to  his  own.**  He  must 

• Manu,  V.  40.  | Manu,  ii.  62. 

t Shiva  Purana,  adh.  viii.  In  this  and  other  chapters  of  a little 
known  Purana,  there  is  very  curious  information  respecting  the  wor- 
ship of  Shiva  and  the  observances  of  his  votaries. 

§ Manu,  ii.  172.  If  See,  for  example,  Manu  iii.  17-19. 

**  Manu,  iii.  15.  “ A Brahman,  if  he  take  a Shudra  to  his  bed  as 

a first  wife,  sinks  to  the  regions  of  torment  ; if  he  beget  a child  by  her 
he  loses  even  his  priestly  rank.’'  Ibid.  iii.  17. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  SHUDKA.  4i) 

aid  in  carrying  the  body  of  a Brahman,  though  even 
that  of  his  master,  to  the  burning  or  burying-ground,  that 
the  funeral  rites  may  not  be  hindered  and  obstructions  to 
enter  heaven  may  not  occur.*  7'he  southern  gate  of  a town 
(the  most  remote  from  the  holy  north)  is  that  only  by 
which  he  can  carry  his  own  kinsmen  to  the  grave.f 
His  morals  are  not  to  be  strictly  looked  after-  Theft  is 
less  heinous  in  him  than  in  those  above  him.|  He  may 
drink  the  spirit  of  rice,  while  it  is  interdicted  to  Brah- 
mans, Kshatriyas,  and  Vaishyas.§  Probably  because  of 
his  connexion  with  Brahmanical  households,  he  ranks 
higher  than  artizans,  to  whose  occupations  he  may  re- 
sort when  tormented  by  hunger-||  The  cruelty  with 
which  he  may  be  punished  for  the  slightest  offences 
against  the  Brahmans,  we  have  already  brought  to  no- 
tice.H  His  murder  by  a Brahman  is  equal  only  to  the 
killing  of  a cat,  an  ichneumon,  the  bird  cha^ha  (the  In- 
dian Roller),  a frog,  a dog,  a lizard,  an  owl,  or  a crow.** 
His  bliss  in  a future  world,  or  in  a future  birth,  depends 
principally  on  his  service.  “ Servile  attendance  on 
Brahmans  learned  in  the  Veda,  chiefly  on  such  as  keep 
house  and  are  famed  for  virtue,  is  of  itself  the  highest 
duty  of  a Shudra,  and  leads  him  to  future  beatitude. 
Pure,  humbly  serving  the  higher  classes,  sweet  in  speech, 
never  arrogant,  ever  seeking  refuge  in  Brahmans,  he 
may  attain  the  highest  class” (in  another  birth),  ft 

By  some  intelligent  writers,  the  position  and  condition 
of  the  Indian  Shudras,  as  brought  to  notice  in  the  Hin- 

* Manu,  V.  104.  t Manu,  v.  92.  J Manu,  viii.  337. 

§ Manu,  xi.  94.  ||  Manu,  x.  99.  If  See  above  pp.  19-20. 

Manu,  xi.  131.  ff  Manu,  ix.  334-335. 

7 


50 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


du  Law  Books,  and  exhibited  in  ancient  (not  the  most 
ancient)  India  societj^,  has  been  likened  to  that  of  the 
Helots  of  Sparta.  As  far  as  the  deprivation  of  liberty, 
the  social  degradation,  and  the  actual  sufferings  of  both 
these  classes  of  slaves  were  concerned,  there  was  doubt- 
less considerable  similarity.  It  must  be  kept  in  mind, 
however,  that  while  the  Helots  were  slaves  of  the  soil 
and  usually  employed  in  agricultural  labour,  the  Shud;’as 
were  slaves  of  the  household  and  commonly  emplo3'ed 
in  domestic  services.  In  religious  status,  the  Shudras 
were  lower  than  the  Helots.  When  a reference  is  made 
to  their  obvious  usefulness  in  olden  times,  it  is  difficult 
to  understand  the  peculiar  hate  with  which,  it  would 
seem,  they  were  regarded,  unless  on  the  supposition 
that  they  were  prone, — as  well  they  might  be, — to  dis- 
content and  rebellion,  at  any  rate  till  a general  agreement 
as  to  their  depression  was  secured  among  their  superiors. 

Of  the  four  classes  of  Hindus  now  treated  of,  it  is 
held  by  the  Brahmans  that  theKshatri^’-as  and  Vaish^^as 
no  longer  exist.  In  exj)lanatioii  of  their  doctrine  on  this 
matter,  they  refer  to  the  legend  of  Parashurama,  an 
alleged  incarnation  of  the  god  Vishnu,  who  is  said  to 
have  killed  all  the  KshatrAas  in  twenty- one  engage- 
ments ;*  to  the  destruction  of  the  Yadavas  b}'-  Krishna, 
considered  also  an  incarnation  of  the  same  god  ;f  and 

* For  a summary  and  review  of  the  wild  legends  connected  with 
Parashmama,  see  Muir's  Texts,  pp.  151-174.  The  slaughter  of  the 
Kshatrijas  is  laid  in  remote  ages,  beyond  those  of  the  Law  Books,  and 
the  narrations  of  it  are  not  available  for  the  purpose  _ for  which  they 
are  appealed  to  by  the  modern  Brcihmans. 

t The  legends  of  this  alleged  clestiuclion' are  given  in  the  Mah^bh£- 
rata  and  the  Vaishnava  Pu;anas.  Sec  Wilson’s  Vishnu  Purapa,  p.  610. 


DISAPPEARANCE  OF  THE  KSHATRIYAS  AND  VAISHYAS.  5 1 


especially  to  certain  passages  in  the  Bhagavata  and 
other  Puraiias,  in  wliich  it  is  prophesied  that  after  king 
Nanda,  son  of  Mah’manda,  all  earthly  power  is  to  be 
administered  by  Ir^hudras.*  To  their  allegations  on 
these  matters  it  will  be  afterwards  necessaiy  to  refer. 
In  the  meantime,  I would  simply  mention  one  or  tw'o 
historical  facts  which  bear  more  distinctly  on  the  posi- 
tion of  the  Kshatriyas  and  Vaishyas  in  India  than 
do  tlie  legends  adduced  by  the  Brahmans.  As  the  con-* 
quests  of  the  Aryas, — from  whom,  as  we  shall  immedi- 
ately see,  the  first  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  and  Vaishyas 
sprung, — advanced  in  India,  difficulties,  arising  from 
the  prejudices  of  race,  were  felt  in  giving  the  status  of 
Kshatriyas  and  Vaishyas  to  the  rulers  and  cultivators 
and  merchants  of  the  subjugated  tribes;  while,  com- 
pared with  the  general  population  of  these  tribes,  the  pure 
A'lyas  must  have  appeared  but  few  in  number.  Shakya 
Muni,  the  founder  of  Buddhism,  who  flourished  in 
the  first  half  of  the  sixth  or  latter  half  of  the  fifth 
century  before  Christ,  w^as  a Kshatriya  ; and  he,  and  his 
cause  after  him,  received  gTeat  patronage  and  support 
from  the  scions  of  the  princely  tribe,  who  became  its 
great  propagators,  while  they  seceded  from  the  organized 
Brahmanical  faith  and  were  reckoned  apostates  by  its  up- 

* Sec  Bhagavata,  Skanda  .vii.  1.  In  the  Vishnu  Purana  ("Wilson’s, 
p.  467)  it  is  said  of  this  Nanda,  “Like  another  Parashuiaina,  lie  will 
be  the  annihilator  of  the  Kshatriya  race;  for  after  him  the  kings  of 
the  earth  will  be  Shiidras.”  Except  sometimes  in  bare  lists  of  kings 
(requiring  a critical  consideration,  and  adjustment),  the  Furtnas  givg 
no  history.  To  preserve  the  air  of  antiquity,  these  writings,  which  were 
evidently  manufactui'ed  in  late  centuries,  give  their  chronology  in  a 
prophetical  form. 


52 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


holders.  I'he  merchants  of  India,  too,  clave  to  Buddhism 
in  great  multitudes,  as  is  evident  from  the  inscriptions 
on  the  Buddhist  Excavations,  and  is  still  illustrated  in 
the  case  of  the  Jainasof  Western  India.  In  the  course 
of  ages,  Kshatriyas  and  Vaishyas,  mainly  of  Aiyan 
blood,  seeing  the  peculiar  honours  claimed  by  and 
accorded  to  Brahmans,  not  unnaturally  aspired,  we  may 
suppose,  after  promotion  ; and  in  the  miscellaneous  so- 
ciety of  India,  gave  themselves  out  for  Brahmans,  though 
by  the  real  priestly  class  they  might  not  be  altogether 
acknowledged  to  have  this  standing.  In  every  pro- 
vince of  India  there  are  cultivatino^  and  labourinsr 
Brahmans,  so-called,  who  are  not  acknowledged  by 
their  brethren  in  general  to  be  of  the  real  stamp;  and 
who  claim  as  their  privilege  only  three  of  the  six  consti- 
tuted works  of  the  Brahmans — those  of  readings  the 

o 

Vedas,  sacrificing  for  themselves,  and  giving  alms. 
Examples  of  this  class  of  Brahmans  may  be  found 
in  the  Bhatela  Bmlimans  of  Gujarat  ;*  in  the  Shenavl 
Brahmans  of  the  Maratha  country  and  Goa  tenitories;  in 
the  Ilaiga  Brahmans  of  the  Karnatika  ; t and  in  the  Ma- 
h.istana,  or  Mastan  Brahmans  of  Odra,  or  Orissa — who 
are  as  likely  to  have  been  originally  A ryas  of  the  rul- 
ing and  cultivating  tribes  seeking  elevation  in  caste, 
as  Brahmans  deteriorating  themselves  by  their  present 
employments.;  It  is  notorious  that  in  the  Bengal  Army, 

* See  Author’s  Journal  of  a Tour  in  Gujarat,  in  Oriental  Chris- 
tian Spectator  1835,  p.  250 

f Letter  of  Huddlestone  Stokes  Esq.  to  the  aixthor. 

J Noticing  the  Mastan  Brahmans,  ^Ir.  A Stirling  (Trans,  of  As- 
Soc.  vol.  XV.,  p.  198)  says,  “ Besides  cultivating  with  their  own  hands 
gardens  of  the  Karbu(.Arum  InJicum)  cocoanut,  and  Arec.a,and  the  pi- 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES 


53 


many  of  the  parties  who  had  professed  to  belong  to  the 
Brahmanhood,  have  been  known  to  declare  themselves  to 
be  of  a lower  g-rade,  to  get  admittance  into  regiments  in 
which  there  was  more  than  the  desired  supply  of  Brah- 
mans. All  this  is  said  with  the  full  admission  of  the  fact 
that  the  Brahmanical  tlieoiy  of  the  total  extinction  of 
the  Kshatriyas  and  A'aishyas  is  altogether  inadmissible. 
The  descent  of  some  of  the  Rajput  princes  from  the  an- 
cient Kshatriyas, — with  a mixture  of  foreign  and  abori- 
ginal blood, — seems  undeniable,  even  without  the  rap- 
turous advocacy  of  the  modern  Pauranika,  the  worthy 
and  genial  Colonel  James  Tod. 

IV. — Orthodox  View  of  the  Mixed  Castes. 

According  to  Mann,  the  original  developenient  of 
humanity  was  confined  to  the  Four  Castes  now  noticed. 

Three  Castes,  the  Brahman,  the  Kshatriya,  and  the  Vai- 
shya,”  he  says,  “ are  twice-born  ; the  fourth,  the  Sliudra, 
is  once-born  ; and  there  is  not  a fifth.”*  These  divisions 
of  human  society,  however,  it  must  be  seen  at  once,  are 
quite  inadequate  to  tlie  exigencies  of  its  progress  and  his- 
tory. Other  classes  of  men,  with  other  duties,  must  have 
appeared  in  India,  as  well  as  in  other  countries,  soon  after 
the  first  settlement  in  it  of  any  considerable  body  of  the 

per  beetles,  or  pan,  they  very  frequently  follow  the  plough,  from  which 
circumstance  they  are  called  Halia  Brahmans,  and  they  are  found 
everywhere  in  great  numbers  of  Mukaddams  and  Sarbarakars,  or 
hereditary  renters  of  villages.  Those  who  handle  the  plough  glory  in 
their  occupation,  and  affect  to  despise  the  Bed  or  Veda  Brahmans, 
who  live  upon  alms.  ...  I have  not  been  able  to  trace  satisfactorily 
the  origin  and  history  of  these  Mastan  Brahmans,  who  I am  informed  re- 
semble the  cultivatins:  Brahmans  of  Tirhut  and  Behar.  ’ 

* Manu,  X.  1. 


54 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


descendants  of  onr  first  progenitor.  Such  classes  Hinduism 
recoo’nizes;  but  it  views  them,  and  certain  deo’iaded  classes 
of  tlie  people,  and  other  bodies  of  men  not  yet  within  the 
pale  of  Hinduism,  as  the  issue  of  connubial  intercourse  and 
adultery,  and  of  after-propagation  by  that  issue,  and 
treats  them  as  mules  and  hybrids.*  It  calls  them  the 
Mixed  Castes  (Varna  Sankara).  The  origin  thus  attri- 
buted to  them  is  doubtless  entirely  of  a fictional  charac- 
ter. The  “ Mixed  Castes,”  must  have  originated  princi- 
pally from  the  increase  of  occupations  in  the  Hindu  com- 
munity, brought  about  by  the  growing  demands  and  divi- 
sion of  labour,  and  by  the  circumstance  of  the  dominant 
people  (the  A'ryas,  to  be  immediate!}*  noticed),  coming  in 
contact  wnth  aboriginal  tribes,  which,  keeping  in  the  main 
beyond  the  pale  of  Hinduism,  have  either  Ireen  ultimately 
degraded,  or  have  maintained  for  themselves  in  their  own 
retreats  a precarious  independence.  I introduce, — rvith 
a few  explanations, — the  information  which  is  given 
respecting  them  by  Mann.  We  are  able  to  identify 
several  of  his  designations  as  those  of  tribes  distinct  from 
that  of  the  dominant  class  which  established  Brahmanism, 
and  the  system  of  faith  with  which  it  is  associated. 

“ Sons,  begotten  by  the  twice-born  on  the  class  imme- 
diately below  them,  wise  legislators  call  similar  in  class 
[with  their  parents,  but  not  the  same]  because  they  are 
degraded  b}'^  the  lowness  of  their  mothers.  Such  is  the 
primeval  rule  for  the  sons  of  women  one  degree  lower 

* Commenting  on  the  passage  last  quoted  from  Manu,  Kulliika 
Bhatpi,  as  noticed  by  Mr.  Muir  (Original  Sanskrit  Texts,  p.  175), 
says,  “ There  is  no  fifth  Caste  ; for  Caste  cannot  be  predicated  of  the 
mixed  tribes,  seeing  that  like  mules,  they  belong  to  another  species 
distinct  from  that  of  their  father  and  mother.” 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


55 


[than  their  husbands]  : tor  the  sons  of  women  two  or 
three  degrees  lower,  let  this  rule  of  law  be  known: — 

“ From  a Brdhman,  on  a Vaishya  wife,*  is  born  a 
son  called  Amhas/itha,”  who,  as  Mann  in  another  law 
says,  “ should  live  by  curing  disorders,”  and  whose  class 
is  recognizable  as  the  A.mbastah  a people  mentioned 
by  Ptolemy, ■}■  “ and  represented  as  a “ Vaidija’  or 
Physician;”]:  on  a Shudra  wife,  [is  born]  a Nisjidda, 
originally  viewed  as  a “ settled”  inhabitant,  one  of 
the  Aborigines,  but  afterwards  appointed  to  catch 

* The  Code,  it  will  be  observed,  does  not  toll  us  what  the  offspring 
of  a Brahman  and  a Kshatriya  woman,  referred  to  in  the  preceding 
general  law,  is.  Probably  a verse  has  here  disappeared  from  the 
manuscripts.  In  the  Sahyadri  Khanda  of  the  Skanda  Purdna,  we  find 
it  thus  written ; — 1 
UtTdirrTT  : — -The  offspring  of  a Yipra  (Brahman  on  a Kshatriya  woman 
is  a JIurdhdbhishikta  (anointed  in  the  head),  a liajanya  (of  princely 
descent)  reckoned  higher  in  religion  than,  a Kshatriya.  Kulluka  BhaUa 
supplies  Mv.rdhdvxtsiJcta,  but  adds  to  it,  as  apparently  designations  also 
given  to  this  kind  of  offspring,  Muhishya,  Karcina,  or  Kdyastha.  Pre- 
fixed to  these  foim  designations.  Sir  TV.  Jones  (Manu,  x.  C)  supplies 
the  words,  “ They  are  named  in  order.”  But  the  names  are  not  in  the 
order  of  four  ranks,  but  expressive  of  four  Castes,  alleged  to  be  of 
one  origin  and  equal  status.  The  Murdhabhishikta,  or  Murdhdvasikta, 
Caste  is  held  by  the  Brahmans  to  be  no  longer  in  existence. 

t AjujBa-ai,  Pal.  A’ujFmjrai,  Ptol.  lib.  vii,  Ed.  Bert.  p.  204. 

J As  noticed  by  Professor  Lassen,  the  appearance  of  the  Yaidya 
here  is  puzzling ; but  probably  the  Code  had  it  in  view  to  give  to  a 
Yaidya  more  than  the  rank  of  a Yaishya,  as  each  of  these  mixed  classes 
partakes  in  the  dignity  of  the  father.  Onwards  the  Code  gives  to  the 
Ambashtha,  the  cure  of  disorders,  dropping  the  Vaidya  out  of  view.  It 
is  probable  that  the  country  of  the  Ambashthas,  like  the  Karnatika  of 
the  present  day,  furnished  remarkable  physicians  or  travelling  quacks, 


56 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


fish,”*  named  also  Pdrashava,  in  the  Juti-Vivcka,  aad  the 
Sahyadri  Khanda — a Sonar,  or  goldsmith, t 

“ From  a Kshatriya,  on  a Shadra  wife,  springs  a crea- 
ture called  U(jra,'' — the  patron3'mic  of  a people  in  the 
time  of  the  Vedas,  perhaps  the  original  of  the  Hungarian 
nation, — “ with  a nature  partly"  warlike  and  partly  servile, 
ferocious  in  his  manners,  cruel  in  his  acts,  and  command- 
ed,— with  the  Kshattri  and  Pukkasa  to  be  afterwards 
mentioned, — “to  live  by  killing  animals  that  livein  holes.  ”t 
“ The  sons  of  a BiHimanby  [women  of]  three  [lower] 
classes,  of  a Kshatriya  by  [women  of)  two,  and  of  a 
Vaishya,  by  one  [lower]  class,  are  called  Ajoasada,  or 
degraded. 

“From  a Kshatriya,  by'  a Brahman  woman,  is  born  a 

* At  the  time  of  the  Mahabharata,  (Rajadharmmanush£shana 
parva,  vv.  2209-22 18,  Cal.  Ed.  vol.  iii.  p.  443)  the  Nisjiaclas  and 
Mle'chchas  dwelling  in  the  Vindhya  mountains,  and  the  reputed 
descendants  of  the  Avicked  Vena  are  reckoned  at  a himdred  thousand 
(classes  ?).  The  picture  of  the  Ni.shada  there  given  seems  to  have  had 
a party  lilce  the  Bhilla  for  its  type,  a being  spoken  of  as  “ deformed, 
dwarfish,  of  the  colour  of  chared-wood,  Avith  red  [flirious  ?]  eyes,  and 
black  hair.”  To  this  description  of  him  Ave  shall  afterwards  advert. 

The  classing  of  a goldsmith  Avith  a Nfshdda  seems  curious  ; but  the 
Nish&da  Avas  not  considered  so  alien  from  the  ruling  race  as  is  commonly 
supposed.  In  the  Ramayana  i.  33,  Ave  find  Rama  spoken  of  as  meeting 
' Avith  Guha,  “ the  pious,  and  beloA-ed  prince  of  the  Ni-shadas” 
qTllfuTT  R^rTlb-TTIT  The  Bombay  goldsmiths,  however,  don’t  like 

to  ’oe  associated  with  the  Nishadas,  and  plead  for  being  considered  a sort 
of  sub-Brahmans.  The  Sahyadri  Khanda  gives  to  the  Sonar,  viewed 
as  a Parashava,  more  than  the  religious  status  of  a Shiidra.  It  denomi- 
nates him  a Mahashudra,  or  great  Shudra.  That  AA’ork,  hoAvever,  is  but 
a late  production. 

In  the  Sahyadri  Khanda  of  the  Skanda  Purana,  the  Ugra  gets  the 
rank  of  a Rajput. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


57 


Suta”  [the  '‘sent”],  to  “live  by  manag-ing-  horses  and 
drivino"  cal’s  and  who,  of  old,  must  have  been  the 
g’reat  traditional  l>ard,  or  reciter,  of  the  families  in  which 
he  was  found.* * * § 

“ From  a Yaishya,  by  a military  or  sacerdotal  wife, 
springs  a Mdghada,”  “authorized  to  travel  with  merchan- 
dise,”— and  probably  an  aboriginal  inhabitant  of  the  pro- 
vince of  Maghada  ; “ and  a Vaideha’ , of  the  country  of 
Videha, — first  mentioned  in  the  Sanskrit  writings  as  be- 
longing to  King  .Tanaka, — “ to  live  by  waiting  on  women.” 

“ From  a Shudra,  on  a Vaishya,  Kshatriya,  or  Brahman 
woman,  are  born  sons  of  a mixed  breed,  called  A'yogava 
(a  monstrous  junction);  a Kshattri,”  “a  degraded  being, 
who  must  live  by  killing  animals;”  “and  a Chdnddla,  the 
lowest  of  mortals,” — t whose  tribe  is  recognized  by 
Ptolemy  as  that  of  the  Kandali,  or  Goiidali,  on  the  river 
Tapti,:[;  (perhaps  the  Gonds, — adjoining  the  Phyllitoe,  of 
the  same  author,' identified  as  the  Bhills, — or  the  Gondha- 
hs,  still  a wandering  tribe  of  the  Maharashtra.) 

“From  a Brahman,  by  an  Ugra  female,  is  born  an 
A'vrita  ; by  one  of  the  Ambashtha. tribe,  an  A'hhira," — 
designated  from  Ahira,  of  Ptolemy,  on  the  banks  of  the 
Indus,  and  represented  by  A'hir,  the  name  of  a class  of 
shepherds  in  Sindh,  Kachh,  and  Kathiaw’ad  ; “ by  one  of 
the  Ayogava  tribe,  a Dhigvana,”\  “ appointed  to  sell 
leather.” 

* The  Mahabharata  professes  to  have  been  recited  by  Ugrasravas  the. 

son  of  the  Suta  Lomaharshana,  who  is  said,  however,  to  have  received 
it  from  Vaishampayana,  a disciple  of  Vyasa,  the  reputed  “ compiler,”  as 
his  name  bears,  of  the  Vedas  and  Shastras. 

f Manu,  X.  6-12. 

§ Ptol.  Geo.  Ed.  Bertii.  p.  204. 

8 


t Manu,  X.  15. 


58 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


“ The  son  of  a ^^  is]la(la  by  a Shudra  woman  is  by  tribe 
a PuJckam”  “ to  live  by  killing'  animals  that  live  in 
holes  “ but  the  son  of  a Shudra  by  a Nishadi  woman, 
is  named  Kiihhjtaka. 

One  born  of  a Kshattri  by  an  JJgra  is  called  Sva- 
2Jdha  (dog'-eater) ; and  one  begotten  by  a Vaideha  on  an 
Ambashthi  -woman  is  called  Vena  ” “ who  should  strike 
musical  instruments.”* 

“ Those  whom  the.  twice-born  beget  on  women  of  equal 
classes,  but  who  perform  not  the  proper  ceremonies, 
people  denominate  Vrdtya,  or  excluded  from  the  Gayatri. 

“From  such  an  outcast  Brahman  springs  a son,  of  a 
sinful  nature,  named  a Blu'a^jakantaka , an  A'vanfya,  a 
Vdtadhdna,  a Piiskpadha,  and  a ShaiJcha,” — ^^who  seem  to 
have  been  inhabitants  of  the  countries  near  the  western 
part  of  the  Yindhya  range. 

“ From  such  an  outcast  Kshatriya  comes  a son  called 
Jhalla  (Rajguru),  a Malla  (wrestler),  a Nichhavi,^ 
Kata  (a  dancer),  a Karana,  a Khasa”  (of  the  Khasya 
tribe),  and  a Dravida,” — of  the  eastern  coast  of  the 
peninsula. 

“ From  such  an  outcast  V aishya  is  born  a son  called 
Sudha/ivd,  Uidryya,  Kdrusha,  Vijanma,  Maitra,  and 
Sdtvata” — the  last  mentioned  being  near  the  Vindhya.l 

“ ADasyu,’' — originally  a non- Aryan, — “ or  outcast  of 
any  pure  class,  begets,  on  an  Ayogavi  woman,  a Sairin- 
dhra,  who  should  know  how  to  attend  and  dress  his 
master. 

* Yaia  comes  from  Yi'na,  a lyre. 

+ This  is  supposed  by  Professor  Lassen  to  be  for  LJchavi,  a class  of 
people,  noted  as  -warriors,  in  the  East  of  India. 

Mann  x.  17-23. 


t 


OHTIIODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


59 


A Vaidelia  begets  on  her  a sweet-voiced  Maitreyaka, 
who  ringing’  a bell  (or  g'ong)  at  the  appearance  of  dawn, 
continualh’  praises  great  men. 

“ A XisJuida  begets  on  her  n Maryam,  or  Dasha,  w’ho 
subsists  by  his  labour  in  boats,  and  is  named  Kaivarta, 
by  tliose  who  dwell  in  Aryavarta.*^ 

“From  a Nishada,  by  a Yaideha  woman,  springs  a 
Kardmra,  who  cuts  leather,  and  from  a Yaideha  by 
women  of  the  Kara, vara  and  Nishada  castes  an  Andhra 
(of  tlie  eastern  part  of  tlie  peninsula),  and  a Mkla,‘\  wdio 
must  live  without  the  tCAvn,” — perhaps  of  the  degraded 
Meda  (“  Mail’”)  tribe  in  Rajputana. 

“From  a Chandala,  by  a Yaideha  Avoman,  comes  n.Fan- 
du'opaka,  avIio  Avorks  Avith  cane  and  reeds;  and  from  a 
Xishdda,  an  Ahwlika,”  said  to  be  a “jailor.” 

“ From  a Chandala,  by  a Pukassl  Avoman,  is  Ijorn  a 
Sopdka,  Avho  lives  by  punishing’  criminals,  a sinfiil  AA  retch 
ever  despised  by  the  virtuous. 

“ A Xisliadi  woman,  by  a Chandala,  produces  a son 
called  Antyavasayi  (performer  of  tlie  loAvest  actions)  em- 
ployed in  places  for  burning  tlie  dead,  contemned  eA^enby 
the  contemptible.”  1 

“The  following  races  of  Kshatriyas,  by  theif  omission 
of  holy  rites  and  by  seeing  no  Brahmans,  have  gradually 
sunk  ainono;  men  to  the  loAAest  of  the  four  classes  [ the 
Shadras\ ; — Paundrakas,  [ of  the  east  of  India  ],  Odras 
[ of  Orisa  ],  and  Dravidas  [ of  the  south  east  of  India  ] ; 
Kamhojas,  Yamiias  [Greeks],  and  Shakas  [Sacae];  Pdra- 

* 3Ianu,  X.  32-31.  The  region  of  the  A'ryas. 

j The  Maratha  BrMiniaiis  consider  the  MMa  the  cfinivalent  ol  Gonda. 

J Mann,  x.  3G-33. 


GO 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(las,  Pahlavas  [ Persians],  CMnas  [Chinese],*  Kirdtas, 
Daradas,  and  KhasJias  [all  identified  as  names  of  peoples 
and  tribes].  All  those  tribes  of  men  which  are  sprung 
from  the  classes  produced  from  the  mouth,  the  arm,  the 
thigh,  and  the  foot  of  Brahma,  became  outcasts  and  are 
called  Dasyus,  whether  they  speak  the  language  of  the 
Mlechchhas,  or  that  of  the  AryasPi 

The  Mixed  Classes  of  the  Hindus,  even  in  their  generic 
designations,  are  now  far  more  numerous  tlian  those 
which  are  here  indicated,  though  doubtless  there  has  been 
a great  indisposition  on  the  part  of  the  Brahmans  to  ex- 
tend them  nominally  beyond  those  found  mentioned  in 
the  more  ancient  Law  Books.  This  fact  may  be  illustrat- 
ed by  any  of  the  Tabular  views  of  the  Castes  constructed 
by  the  natives  in  any  of  the  provinces  of  India, — as  in  that 
of  the  Maharashtra,  or  Maratlia  countr}^  a transliteration 
and  translation  of  which,  in  an  abridged  form,  may,  with 
its  introductory  matter,  be  here  introduced,  as  the  most 
distinct  and  prtcise  document  of  the  kind  procurable.:}: 

1.  ‘'The  Brahmans  have  proceeded  from  the  mouth 
of  the  god  Brahma.  They  have  a right  to  the  perfor- 
mance and  use  of  the  Sixteen  Sacraments  and  the  Six 
religious  ^yorks.”  The  Sixteen  Sacraments  ( sansharas), 
here  alluded  to,  are  the  following  : — garhhadhana,s>acv\^c(i 
to  promote  conception,  or  acknowledge  it  when  it  occurs ; 

* 'file  occurence  of  tlie  Chinas  and  Yavanas  in  this  veree  indicates 
this  portion  of  Manu  to  be  later  than  tlie  time  of  the  Greeks  in  India. 

t Manu  X.  4.3-45.  See,  on  some  of  the  tribes  here  mentioned, 
Wilson’s  Vishnu  Purina,  p.  177. 

t This  character  I give  it  on  comparing  the  ilarathi  Tables  -with  the 
similar  documents  of  Bengal,  the  Gwaler  State,  Orisa,  the  Canarcse 
country,  the  Tamil  countty,  Malayalim,  etc. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


61 


punsavana,  sacrifice  on  in  tlie  foetus;  anavalo- 

bhana,  sacrifice  in  the  third  month  of  pregnancy ; Vuhnu- 
bali,  sacrifice  to  Vishnu  in  the  seventh  month  of  preg- 
nancy ; simantonjiayana,  sacrifice  in  the  lourth,  sixth,  or 
eighth  month  ; jdtakarmma,  the  birth  ceremony,  giving 
the  infant  clarified  butter  from  a golden  spoon  before 
dividing  the  navel  string;  ndmakarana,  naming  the  child 
on  the  tenth,  eleventh,  twelfth,  or  hundred-and-first 
day;  nuhkramana,  carrying  him  out  to  be  presented  to 
the  moon  on  the  third  lunar  day  of  the  third  light  fort- 
night ; surydvaloJtana,  carrying  him  out  to  be  presented 
to  the  sun  in  the  third  or  fourth  month  ; annaprdshana^ 
feeding  him  with  rice  in  the  sixth  or  eighth  month,  or 
when  he  has  cut  his  teeth;  chuddkdryya,  tonsure,  in  the 
second  or  third  year  ; tipanayana,  investiture  with  the 
string  in  the  fifth,  eighth,  or  sixteenth  year ; mahandmya 
instruction  in  the  gayatri-mantra,  after  the  Munja,  the 
ceremony  of  investment  with  the  sacrificial  cord  ; sama- 
varttana,  loosing  the  Munja  from  the  loins  ; vivdha,  mar- 
riage, with  its  immediate  antecedents  and  concomitants  ; 
svargarohana,  funeral  ceremonies  and  obsequies,  to  forward 
the  entrance  of  the  spirit  into  Svarga,  or  heaven.*  The 
dispensation  of  such  of  the  Sacraments  here  mentioned  as 
j)recede  birth,  is  attended  with  the  injury  of  all  delicate 
feeling  in  families.  There  is  much  ceremony,  without 
any  really  moral  import,  in  all  the  Hindu  Sacraments. 
The  Six  Constituted  works  of  the  Brahmans  have  been 
already  mentioned. t 

2.  “ The  Kshab’iyas  have  proceeded  from  the  arm 

* In  this  mention  of  the  Sacraments,  I have  principally  followed 
IMolesuorth  (Dictionar}",  p.  836).  But  compare  Steele's  Summary  of 
the  Law  and  Customs  of  Hindu  Caste,  p.  30. 

f See  alwe,  p.  17. 


G2 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  the  god.  They  have  a right  to  the  use  of  the  Sixteen 
Sacraments  and  Three  religious  Works. 

3,  “ The  Vaishijas  have  proceeded  from  the  foot  of 
the  god.  They  have  a right  to  the  use  of  the  Sixteen 
Sacraments  and  Three  religious  Works. 

4.  “ The  Shudras  have  proceeded  from  the  foot  of  the 
god.  They  have  a right  to  the  use  of  Twelve  Sacra- 
ments through  the  Nama-Mantras.*  Their  duty  is  to 
serve  the  other  three  Castes. 

Thus  were  created  the  Four  Castes  {varnas) . The 
god  Brahma  also  produced  some  Mind-born  Sons.  One 
of  these  was  Kashyapa  Rishi  [the  son  of  Marichi  one  of 
the  Mind-born  Sons],  who  gave  birth  to  the  gods 
{Deoas)  and  Titans  {Daityas),  and  so  continued  the 
progression  of  the  world. '[  The  Brahmans  had  the 

* The  prmcipal  Sacraments  not  alloAvcd  to  Shudras  are  Upanayana, 
Maluinamya,  and  Sainavarttana.  The  Nama-Jiahtras  are  the  simple 
invocations  of  tlie  names  of  the  gods,  as  distinguished  ii-om  Yedic  texts. 

t Li  the  doctrine  of  the  i\Iind-born  sons  of  Brahma,  here  alluded  to 
(designedly  in  an  obscure  form,  for  preventing  the  charge  of  inconsist- 
ency), there  is,  even  in  iManu  (i.  32-et  seq.),  a theory  of  the  origin  of  the 
human  race  quite  inconsistent  Avith  the  orthodox  A'ic'w  of  the  origin  of 
Caste.  “ Having  divided  his  ovrn  body  into  tmo  parts,  the  lord  [Brahma, 
the  creator]  became,  Avith  the  half,  a male,  and  Avith  the  half,  a female ; and 
in  that  female  he  created  Vireij.  KnoAv,  O most  excellent  of  Brahmans, 
[IManii  is  here  represented  as  speaking  to  Bhrigu,  one  of  the  Mind-born 
Sons,  or  Sons  formed  by  Manu]  that  I am  the  person  Avhom  that  male  Vinij 
alter  performing  dcA'otion,  created : I aa'Iio  am  the  ' creator  of  all  this 
[Avorld].  Being  desirous  to  form  creatirres,  I performed  A'ery  arduous 
deA'otion,  and  first  created  ten  IMaharshis,  (great  Kishis)  the  lords  of 
creatures : Marichi,  Atri,  Angiras,  Pulastya,  Pulaha,  Kratu,  Prache- 
tas,  Yashishtha,  Bhrigu,  and  Narada.  They,  endued  Avith  great  energy, 
created  seven  other  IManus  and  Devas,  and  the  abodes  of  Devas,  and 
^laharshis  of  boundless  po'.ver.  Yakshas,  IMkhasas,  Pishachas,  Gan- 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


63 


custom  of  receiving  in  marriage  females  of  all  the 
four  Castes  (the  wife  of  his  own  Caste  being  the  first.) 
The  Kshatiiyas  married  the  females  of  three  Castes, 
including  their  own.  The  Vaishyas  were  to  exclude  the 
females  of  the  Brahman  and  Kshatriya  Castes,  and 
to  many  those  of  their  own  and  the  Shildra  Caste.  The 
Shudras  were  permitted  to  contract  marriages  only  in 
their  own  Caste.  Such  was  the  custom  of  the  former 
ages.  The  offspring  of  such  marriages  is  called  the 
Ajiuloma.^  The  offspring  of  unlawful  connexions  between 
the  higher  Caste  men  and  lower  caste  women  is  called 
the  PralilomaA  The  period  for  the  investiture  with 
the  sacred  thread  of  the  male  issues  of  the  Brahman, 
Kshatriya,  and  Yaishya  Castes  is  [properly]  restricted 
to  the  age  of  nine  years  (to  the  commencement  of  the 


clhai-^-as,  Apsarasas,  Asuras,  Xaga.<5,  Sei-peuts,  Siiparnas,  and  the  dif- 
ferent cla.'«?es  of  Pitris, Kinnara.s,  apes,  fi.shes,  varioiis  birds, 

beasts,  deer.  Men,  and  wild  animals  Avitli  two  rows  of  teeth Thus 

by  iny  appointment  [that  of  IMann,  the  son  of  the  self-existent] 
and  by  the  force  of  devotion,  these  gi'eat  ones  created  all  this  mova- 
ble and  immovable  world  with  separate  actions  allotted  to  each  creature.” 
To  this  pas&ige,  as  opposed  to  the  orthodo.x  theory  of  Caste,  I directed 
attention  in  my  lectiu'es  to  the  youth  of  Bombay  many  years  ago.  Mr. 
iMiiir  (whose  translation  I have  adopted  in  giving  it,  O.  S.  T.  p.  16), 
I am  glad  to  notice,  thus  refers  to  it : — “ It  Avill  be  obseiwed  that 
among  the  crcatm'es  formed  by  the  ten  Maharshis  are  hlen,  who  are  not 
.specified  as  being  of  any  particular  caste.  How  does  this  creation  by  the 
IMaharshis  consist  with  the  four  being  created  separately,  and  by  the 
immediate  act  of  Brahrini,  as  de.scribed  inverse  31,”  [in  which  they  are 
.spoken  of  as  brought  from  his  head,  hands,  etc]  ? 

* From  Anu,  with,  and  loma,  hair,  gi'ain,  or  line,  meaning  in  the 
direct  line  of  nature. 


■I"  The  reverse  of  the  precedijig. 


64 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ninth  year)*  Those  whose  thread  ceremony  has  not  been 
solemnized  within  that  period  are  called  Vratya.  The 
children  born  to  the  Vratyas  by  adultery  with  the 
women  of  their  own  caste  are  called  the  Vrdtya-Santati 
(Yratya-progeny).  Again,  those  bom  of  illegal  con- 
nexion of  the  men  of  any  one  of  the  above-mentioned 
castes  with  the  w'omen  of  any  other  caste  are  called  the 
Mixed  Castes  {Sankara- Jciti ).  The  authors  of  the  Jati- 
Viveka,  the  Brahajjati-Viveka,  the  Madhava  Kalpalita, 
and  the  Parashurama  Pratapa  [works  of  authority 
among  the  Maratha  Brahmans],  say  there  are  many 
Mixed- Castes  in  this  last  age  (Kali-Yuga)  which  cannot 
be  determined  and  described.  Yet,  wdth  the  help  of 
Manu  and  the  other  Rishis,  they  enumerate  134  produced 
from  the  Anulomas  and  Pratilomas,  and  the  mixture  (by 
the  Sankara-Juti)  of  the  four  original  Castes.  They 
describe  their  modes  of  subsistence,  and  notice  the  Castes 
which  are  referable  to  the  Sankara-J ati  and  those  which 
are  not.  The  following  is  the  snm  of  them  : — 

Directly  from  god — the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  Yaishya,  and  Shudra  4 
From  the  Anuloma — the  IMm-dlia-Vasikta,  the  Amba.shtha,  the  Pa- 
rashava,  the  Mahishya,  the  Ugra,  and  the  Yaitalika-Karana 


Charana 6 

From  the  Pratiloma — the  Siita,  the  Yaidehika,  the  Chandiila, 

the  Magadha,  the  Kshata-Xishada,  the  Ayogava 6 

From  the  Vratyas  and  the  Sankaras  together,  according  to 

the  preceding  books  36 

To  which  are  to  be  added,  fi'om  the  Parashurama  Pratapa,  22 

Total  of  Castes  enumerated  134.” 


* See  the  injunction  of  Manu  on  this  matter,  above,  pp.  15-16.  But 
compare  with  it,  for  the  apphcation  of  the  term  Vratya,  the  Mahabharata, 
Anushashana  Parva,  6.  2621  : — The  three  outcaste  classes  are  the 
Chandala,  the  Yratya,  and  the  Yaidya,  begotten  by  a Shudra  on  females 
of  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  and  Yaishya  classes  respectively. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


G5 


TABULAR  VIEW  OF  THE  CASTES  ABOVE  REFERRED  TO. 


From  the  Brahman  to  the  Shudra,  here  the  Kxinhi  or  Cultivator. 


Caste*  Sanskrit  deno^  Marathi  denomi- 
mination*  nation* 

English  deno^  . 
mination. 

Male  Parent. 

Female  Parent. 

Procession. 

1 Brahaniai.ia  ....  Brahman 

Brahman 

. Brahman  . . 

. Brahman  . , 

, Regular. 

2 Murddhabhishik 

ta* 

Anointed  in 
the  head 

Brahman  . . 

Kshatriya  . , 

. Anuloma_ 

3 Kshatriya Kshatriya 

, Kshatriya  .... 

, Kshatriya  . , 

, Kshatriya . . 

Regular. 

4 Ambashtha  ....  V aidya  

Ambashtha  . , 

Brahman  . . 

Vaishya... 

. Anuloma, 

5 Vaishya Vaishya 

Vaishya  , 

Vaishya.... 

V aishya  . . . . 

, Regular. 

6 Mahishya Joshi  

Mahishya  or 
Joshi 

Kshatriya  .. 

Vaishya  .. . . 

, Anuloma. 

7 Kunda-Golaka  . . Kunda-Golaka  . , 

, Kunda-Golaka  Brahman.  ., 

, Brahman 
wife  of 
another 

Adultery. 

8 Rauda-Golaka  ...  Randa-Golaka  . . 

Randa-Golaka 

Brahman  . . 

Brahman- 

widow 

Adultery. 

9 Bhishaka,  or  Am-  Ap^|p- Ambashtha  BhishaJca,or 
bakat  Ambaka 

Brahman.  . . 

Kshatriya  . . 

Adultery, 

10  Sdta Sarathi  

Charioteer,  or 
Bard 

Kshatriya  .. 

Brahman  . . , 

. Pratilo* 
ma. 

1 1 ParashavaJ  ....  Sonar 

Goldsmith  .... 

Brahman  . , 

Shiidra  . . • • 

Anuloma. 

12  Ugra  Rajput  

Itgra  

Kshatriya  . . 

Shiidra  . . . . 

Anuloma. 

13  Eansyakara  ....  Kansar  

Bell-metal- 

Shuiasena, 

Shurasena, 

Degene- 

worker 

Adhika- 

Kshatriya 

Adhika- 

Kshalriya 

ration.^ 

14  Brijjakantha. . . . Prathama-Bai- 
ragi 

1.  Bairugi .... 

Brahman 

Vratya, 

Anupam'ta 

Brahman  . . 

Vratya- 

Santati. 

15  A'vartaka DwitiyaBairagi. , 

2.  Do 

Bi'ijjakantha 
or  Pratham 
Bairagi 

Brahman  , . 

Do. 

16  Katadhana  ....  Tritiya-Bairagf. . 

3.  Do 

A’vartaka,  or 
Dwitiya 
Bairagi 

Braliman.  . , 

Do. 

17  Puslipasliekhara.  Chaturtha-Bai- 
ragt 

4.  Do 

Katadhana, 
or  Tritiya 
Bairagi  1| 

Brahman.  , . 

Do. 

* Or  Jturclhdvisiklita.  Xow  altogether  extinct.  t Ifow  altogether  extinct, 

t Goldsmitlis  are  important^  personages  in  the  coramimity.  Stany  say  they  are  here  inserted  by  favour, 
as  all  the  handicrafts,  according  to  the  Caste  theory,  should  rank  lower  than  Shddras.  They  have,  however,  a 
Brdlimaii  progenitor  ascribed  to  them. 

5 By  a Ksliatriya  adopting  a trade,  as  is  said. 

II  Tlie  Bairagfs,— or  Vairdgis—an  devotees  of  Vijhnu,  and  properly  a sect,  not  a caste.  The  numeric  dis- 
' tinctions  in  Mardthi  ( 1,  2,  .1,  4 ) are  purely  arbitrary. 

1 9 


66 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


treya,  Savrlta, 


22  AbHr 

23  Magadha-Bandi - 

jana 

24  Napita 

25  Apara-Napitaf  . , 

26  Jhalla 


27  Malla  ... 
23  Vichuka  , 


29  Suda  

SO  Kansyakara 


SI  Kinasava  . 
32  Bathakara  ■ 


na,  or  Charana 
S4  Kayastha 


36  Parabha 


38  Manikara 


Mardthi  denomi- 

Englith  deno- 

Male  Parent. 

Female'Pareni. 

nation. 

mincUion. 

. Surya-Upasaka. . 

Mdghacla  . . . , 

, Brahman  . 

. Pushpashe- 

Devapuja-Ka- 

Idol-dresser  . 

. Brahman  . , 

khara  . . . 
, Magadha  . . 

ranar 

, Jangam,  etc.,  of . 

. Yratya-van 

- Yaishya... 

five  kinds  of 

sha  Anu- 

Yanis* 

Kunbf.  

Cultivator  . , 

panita 

, Shiidra  . . . 

. Shudra  ... 

Of  the  Status  of  the  Cultivators. 

Gawaji  

Herdsman\  . 

. Brahman  . 

, . Mahishya  . 

Bhatava  Kavi  . . 

Minstrel  of  the 

Yaishya  . . . 

. . Kshatriya  . 

Nbavi 

Mdgadhas 
Barber  

Brahman  . 

. Shudra  . . . . 

Nhavi 

Barber  

Magadha  . 

. Ugra  

Rajguru 

Jhalla  ...... 

Rshatriya- 

Shudra  or 

JethiJ;  

irrestler  . . . . 

Yratiya 
, Jhalla 

Kshatriya 
. Kshatriya  . , 

Chatradhar,  or 

Umbrella- 

Brahman  . 

. Yaidehika  . , 

Wari 

Svayampaki  .... 

holder 

Cook  

Suta 

1 Yaidehika  . , 

Bogar-Kausar  . . 

Clumsy-Bra- 

Brahman  . 

. Ambashtha  . 

T ambat  

zier 

Coppersmith  , , 

Kshatriya  . 

. Parashava  . , 

Sutar  § 

Carpenter  . . . . 

Mahishya  . 

. Charani- 

Lowe) 

’ than  Slaidras. 

Yaitklaka 

Dhadi(?)  

Yaishya  . . . 

. Shudra  . . . . 

Prabhu  or  Par- 

K.  Parbhu  .. 

Yaidehika  . 

. Mahishya  . . 

bhu 

Prabhu  or  Par- 

Barbltu 

Kayastha  . 

. Kayastha- 

bhu 

Parabha 

Yratya  Pra- 

tvidow 

Prabhu-sist- 

Bhadabhunjya  . . 

bhu-bro- 

ther 

Grain-pareher  Yaidehika  . 

er 

, Shddra  •• 

Yidhari 

Jeweller 

Kshatriya  . 

. Yaishya  . . . . 

K atari  

Turner  

MaUikara 

. Kayastha  . , 

Pratilo- 

ma. 


Vratya  S. 


Adultery. 


* This  is  a late  interpolation,  the  Jausams  being  the  priests  of  the  Liugtiyits,  a modern  sect, 
t From  the  Sanskrit  Jyeshtha,  chief.  t Variety  of  the  preceding.  § Or  Karana. 

II  Insinuation  from  brtihmanical  Iwtrcd,  the  Kayasthas,  or  Parbhus,  being  great  rivals  of  the  Brdliman 
in  the  matter  of  office-employment. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


67 


Caste,  /ianstrit  deno- 

Mardthi  denomi- 

English  deno- 

Mate  Parent. 

Female  Parent.  Procession 

minatioHi 

40  A’yogava  ...... 

nation. 

» Pillharavat  • . . . 

mination. 

. Stone-di'esser, 

. Shudra  . , . , 

Yaishya  ....  Pratilo- 

41  Kumbhakiira  , , 

, Kumbhnr 

. Potter  

Brahman  . . 

, Ugra  ma. 

42  Gandhaka 

, Gandhi  

. Perfumer  . . . . 

. Ugra  .... 

. Ambashtha. . 

43  Yatsala  ........ 

, Gor4khi 

. Coicherd  .... 

. Shiidra  . . . 

. Kiinsyakdra . 

44  Silindhra  Mar 

- Ang-Mardani  .. 

. AppUers  of  un 

- Malla 

. Kshatriya  .. 

danf  ( ?) 

4o  Chhagalika  .... 

, Shejaka.  ..... 

guents 

. Goatherd  .... 

, Katadhdna. 

. Bandijana  or 

46  Sindolaka 

Shimpi  

1 Tailor  ...... 

. Shudra  ... 

Magadhi 
, Bhanda  .... 

47  Vastra-Vikraji. , 

, Kapada-Yika- 

Clothier- 

Shiidra  .... 

. Ayogava  or 

48  Shdbala  

nar-Shimpi 
. Unknown* 

Tailor 

Br.4hman  . 

Pdthara- 

va^ 

. Bandijana  . . 

49  Shankarghua  . . 

Shank  arghna  . . 

Kiiyastha 

A'yogava. . . . 

60  Malakara  

Mali  

, Gardener  .... 

Prabhu 
Mahishya  . . 

, Nishada  .... 

51  Phala-Vikra)  1 . . 

Phal-Yikanar  ... 

. Flower-seller 

Brahman  . 

. Kalavanta  . . 

52  Kagalika 

Kavadi  Kashi  . . 

Fruit-seller  , . 

Shiidra  . . . . 

■ Ugra  

. Messenger  . , 
Bed-tnalcer  . . 

54  Shayapala 

Phriis 

Sairandhra. . 

, Dwara-rak- 

55  Ni.shada-PiLra- 

Nicha-Sonar  .... 

Low-Sondr  .. 

Brahman  . . 

shaka 

, Shudra  .... 

shava 

56  Mahaguru,  Ush- 

Karhekar  

Camel-man  . . 

Kshata-Ni- 

Avartaka  . . 

trapala 

57  Magutavalli  (?) . . 

Chora-Rakshak 

Watchman  , . 

shdda 
Kshemak 
Brahman  . . 

Bandijana  . . 

58  Bhasma- Sankara  Gurava  

Dresser  of 

Maha-Tap- 

Married- 

59  Suchala  and  Ku- 

Gondhali  

Idols 

Musician  .... 

asvi  Brah- 
man 

A'ndh)  a . . . . 

Shudra 
Yaidehika  .. 

cbala 

60  Maitn'ya. 

Gondhali  

Rude-Musi- 

A'aidehika  . . 

A'yogava  . . 

61  Chitrakara 

Shankavati  and 

dan 

A’vartaka- 

Uhigvana  . . 

62  Prasadika  ...... 

Rajavali 
Gaundi 

Mason 

Kumbhar 
A'yogava  .. 

Kaivartaka 

63  Aurabhra 

Dhangar  

Shepherd  .... 

Brijjakanta. . 

Chhagali.. .. 

64  Sangara  (?)  .... 

Sangar  

Shepherd  .... 

Shudra  .... 

A’bhir 

65  Yaidehika 

Kuntan 

Pimp 

Yaishya  .... 

Brahman. . . . Pratilo- 

66  Kshemaka 

Dwara-rakshalc , 

Doorkeeper 

Kshata-Ni- 

Ugra  ma. 

67  Ulmuka 

Chobdar 

Lohar 

Blacksmith  . . 

shada 

Kshatriya  . . 

Magadha 

68  Ishukara  Man- 

Tirgar  and  Ka- 

Archer  

A'bhir 

Brikunsha  . , 

didik. 

mangar 

* The  name,  said  to  be  Sanskrit,  does  not  seem  genniiie. 


68 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Caste.  Sanskrit  deno- 
mination. 

Mar&thi  d^nomi^ 
nation. 

English  deno^ 
mination. 

Male  Parent. 

Female  Parent . Procession. 

69  Ishukara 

Tirgar  

Archer 

Abb.fr 

Kairartaka. , 

70  Mausalika  (?)  . . 

Tell 

Oilman  ...  . . 

Parashava  . . 

■Pgra 

71  N%avalli  Vik- 
rayi. 

Tambolf 

Betel-leaf 

seller 

Kancbarf  . , 

Kumbhakara 

72  Kanchakara.  . . . . 

KanchKaranar 

Glassmaker 

Shalmalf.. . . 

. A’vartaka  . . 

73  Shakilja 

Nicha-Xhavf . . . . 

Low-Barber 

Rdpita 

Mdrga 

A'vartaka  . . 
A'vartaka  , . 

V^rn 

75  Kuravinda 

Koshtf  

Weaver  and 
Spinner 

Kukkuta.  . . 

76  Shaushira  (?) . .. . 

Tasardvakar- 

Koshtf 

yiaker  of 
coarse  silk 
cloth.  Low 
Weaver 

Kukkufa  . . 

A'bhfr 

77  Nilikdra 

Nirdli 

Indigodyer  . . 

A'bbfra  .... 

Kukkufa. . . . 

78  Raukika 

Kit-Londri 

Charcoal- 

maker 

Malla  

A'vartaka  . . 

79  Yavasika  and 

Kirdd  and  Chd- 

■ Grass-cutter 

Fdsulaka  . , 

Pulkasa  .... 

Shdkilya 

bukswdr 

Horse- 

Trainer 

' 

80  Patula 

Fdngul  

Pdngul- 

beggars 

Pasulaka  . . 

, Shddra  .... 

81  Dasyu 

Bhamatya 

Thieves 

Kuravinda  . , 

, Kairartaka.. 

82  Vena  

Bahurupi 

Maslc-tcearers 

Playmen 

Ambashtha 

V aiddhika  . . 

83  Brikunslia 

Jambhaka  and 
A'kat 

Fortune-tell- 
ers, etc. 

A'yogava  . . 

Mdgadha- 

Bandijana 

84  KaHvanta 

Kaldvanta  and 
Kaval 

Dancers 

, Kata  

. W ahishya  . . 

85  Paushtika 

Bhm  

Bearers  .... 

Brahman  . . 

Ni'shada  .... 

86  Pdshulpalya  or 
Pashu-Vikarayi 

Wanjdra 

Wanjdrd  or 
Banfdra  , 

Paushsika  . . 

Nishdda  .... 

87  Kairartaka 

Dbivar  KuH. . . . 

Fisherman  . . 

Pdrashava  . . 

A’yogava  . . 

88  Dhi'gvan 

Jin  gar 

Saddler 

Brdhman  . . 

A'yogava.  . . 

89  Kdramdri 

Shikalgar  

Furbisher  . . 

Descent  not  recorded. . . . 

90  C tdraka 

Otdri  

Caster  and 
Founder 

Kdramdra  .. 

Chitrakdra  . . 

91  Shuddha-ftldr- 
gaka 

Ghadashi  or 
Wasantri 

( Loxc ) Mmi- 
cimi 

Mdgadha  . . 

Mahishya  . . 

92  Krodhakukkuta 

Taksaji 

Mint  man  .... 

Shudra  .... 

Kshata- 

Kishdda 

Lower  than  the  preceding  hut  higher  than  Chanddlas. 


They  dont  reside  in  villages. 

93  Bandhulaka  . . 

...  Jhdrekai'f  ... 

metallic  dross 

Jddhika  . . 

94  Kdshtapdtrf  . . 

. . Badhdf  

...  Box-maker  ..  Kairartaka.. 

Ahf-tundika 

95  Dhusakdra  . . . . 

. . . Coarse-  Kdramdra  . , 

Blacksmith 

Sutdr  ...... 

ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


G9 


Caste.  Saiislrit  item- 

ilarathi  denomi- 

English  deno- 

Male  Parent.  Female  Parent.  Procession. 

mination. 

nation. 

mination. 

96  Shailika 

Ndlband 

Sheer  of 
animals 

Kashtapdtra-  Brahman  . , 
ku  ra 

97  Karma-Chdnd- 
dla. 

Belddr  

Sione-cligger 

Brahman-  Brdhman-\vi- 

Sannydsi  dow 

98  Mangushtha .... 

Chuni-Londri  . . 

Lime-burner 

Kairartaka.,  Jddhika..,. 

99  Manjusha  

Farit  

If'asherman 

Yaidehika  Ugra  

100  Nata 

Kolhdntf  or 

Tumbler  or 

Shilmdhra  Khatriya  . . 

Bobdri 

Dancer 

Mardanf 

101  Sutradhara 

Chitra-kathf  or 
Kald-Sutri 

Doll-Dancer 

A’yogava  . . Rathakdra. 

102  Rajukdra  

Kdujdri 

Rope-twister 

Brijakantha  Avartaka  , . 

103  Kshata-Nishdda 

Phanse-Pdradhi 

Snarer  

Shildra  ....  Kshatriya  . . Pratiloma. 

104  Kinshuka 

Burud 

Basketmaker 

Kaivartaka..  Kuravinda., 

105  Apara-Kinshuka 

Kaikddf 

Basketmaker 

Kishdda....  DhigTana  .. 

106  Khadirotpddaka 

Katkarf 

K(itkari-\  .... 

Ushtrapdla. . Brahman 

107  Angshuka  Man- 
dalika. 

Kutewan  

Dogman  .... 

Pushpashe-  KarmaChdn- 
khar  dala 

lOS  Ahi-tundaka. . . . 

Gdrudi  

Player  with 
serpents 

Vaidehika  ,.  Nishada  .... 

103  Gholika 

Yaddri  

Vaddrf  

Nishdda....  J'hi-tundal<a 

110  Charmaka  or 
Kdravdra 

Chdmblidr 

, Shoemaker.  . . 

Dhigvana  ..  Nishdda.... 

111  Vaishya-Gdyaka 

Bdsphod 

Bambu- 

Splitter 

Avartaka  . . Kdravdra  , , 

112  Chuladhya 

Ni'cha-Parit  .... 

Lolo  IVasher- 
man 

Kaivavtalia. . Karana  .... 

113  Saunika 

Kbdtik  

Butcher,  k., . . 

Karma-chdn-  Kaivartaka.  . 
dala 

Kaldl 

The  touch  of  the  folloiuing  requires  ablution  of  dress.  J 

115  Durbhara  

l>hor  

. Currier 

A'yogava  . . Dhigvana  . . 

116  Me  da  

Gonda  and 
Tlidkur 

Gonda,  and 
Thukur 

Vaidehika..  Kdravdra  .. 

117  Bhilla 

Bhilla 

Bhilla  

Kaivartaka. . Kdravari  . . 

118  Bhdruda 

Ramushi  and 
Berad 

Berad,  Rdmu- 
shi 

Antevasdyl.  Pulkasa.... 

1 19  Tavdra 

Lakhdrf  or  Ni- 
cha  Otari 

Vamishers, 
Dealer  s-in  lac 

Hastaka  ....  Meda  

From  the  Chdndala  to  the  Cannibal. 

120  Chdndala 

Hindu  Halal- 
khor 

Scavengers  . . 

Shudra  ....  Brahman  • , Pratiloma. 

12l  Pulkasa 

Dongan'-KuH  ... 

, Hill-Kuli 

Nishada  ....  Shddra  .... 

* Jungle  tribe,  makers  of  cateclui.  'Wandering  tril)C : rat-catchers,  stone-dressers,  Sc. 

Sachailastidiia. 


70 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Caste.  Sanslril  deno-  j,'  Mardthi  denomi-  English  deno-  Male  Parent.  Female  Parent.  Procession, 
viination.  nation.  mination. 

122  Turushka  ....  Gonda,  Turka- Nishada..-.  Medada  .... 

man,  MlecL- 
cha,  etc.* 

123  Shvapdkat PrathamMahar  1 Mahdr  ....  Chandala  ..  Pulkasa  .... 

124  Antevasayi  ....  Uwitfya  MaMr,  2 Mahdr  ....  Chanddla  ..  Nishdda.... 

Dom 

125  Plava,  Tritfya  Makar  3 Mahdr  ....  Chandala  ..  A'ndhra.... 

126  Kravjadhi Chaturtha  Ma-  4 Mahdr  ....  Shvapaka  ..  Plava 

har 

127Hastaka.. Pancham  Mahdr  5 Mahdr  ....  Chanddla  ..  Kraviadhi.. 

128  Ka taka  Sahara  Mahdr  6 Mahdr  ....  Shvapaka  ..  Hastaka.... 

129  Heshaka Ni'cha-Mahdr  .,  Low  Mahdr..  Doma,  Ante- Matangf  . . . . 

vasdyf 

130  Chesha Ati-mchaMahar  3/a/idr  Turushka  ..  Chdnddla  .. 

131  Shvapacha Mang Mdng Chanddla  .,  Meda 

132  Matanga Mang Loto  Mdng  ..  Plava Antevasayi. 

133  Malyahdri,  Yava-  Musalman-Halal- “ SoWier”. . . . Turushka  .,  Suda  

na  khor,  SojarJ 

134  Manushya-  Adam-l?hor  ....  Cannibal  ....  Chdnddla  ..  Meda 

Bhakshaka 

Besides  the  Castes  above  enumerated,”  it  is  added  to  the 
Tables,  “ there  are  other  Castes, — in  the  city  of  Puna  eleven, — 
the  origin  of  which  caimot  be  explained  according  to  theShastras. 
Altogether,  the  Recognized  Castes  in  the  Maratha  Country 
amount  to  145.  The  rank  popularly  assigned  to  these  Castes  does 
not  ill  each  instance  accord  with  that  established  by  the  Shastras.” 
The  list,  though  comjirehending  but  the  famihes  and  genera 
of  the  local  Castes,  is  indeed,  far  from  being  complete.  But  to 
this  subject  we  must  afterwards  return  in  another  connexion. 
Our  object  at  present  has  been  merely  to  illustrate  the  principle 
according  to  which,  in  the  orthodox  view,  varieties  in  Caste  have 
originated.  The  mode  of  their  actual  development  will  require 
special  and  distinct  notice. 

* This  shows  that  the  Br^ihmans  are  but  poor  ethnographers, 
t Dog-eaters:  the  Sanskrit  denominations,  it  •will  [be  observed,  are  all  attributed  to  the  Mahdrs,  a degraded 
Aboriginal  tribe,  here  arbitrarily  set  forth  as  of  six  degrees. 

X Let  the  British  warrior  mark  the  place  here  assigned  to  him.  The  Brdlimans  are  afraid  to  put  the  *‘Sahebs*’ 
here:  and  they  excuse  themselves  by  saying  that  they  have  got  a share  of  the  Rdjddhikir6,  (authority  of 
governraent)  claimed  by  the  ancient  Kshatriyas.  Some  of  the  Brahmans  bold  that  the  Yavanas  and  Europeans 
should  take  rank  after  the  Turushkas  : but  this  is  of  little  consequence,  as  they  are  still  left  between  the  Chiin- 
dilaand  Cannibal. 


ORTHODOX  VIEW  OF  THE  MIXED  CASTES. 


71 


To  this  it  has  to  be  added,  that  the  view  of  the  origin  and  po- 
sition of  the  castes  here  given  is  that  to  which  orthodox  Hinduism 
adheres  to  the  present  day.  Tliis  is  obvious,  not  only  from  some 
of  the  authorities  from  which  the  preceding  matter  has  been 
dra\ni,  but  from  the  representations  constantly  made  by  the  Brah- 
mans in  their  intercourse  with  their  pupils,  and  in  then'  popular 
expositions  of  Hinduism,  such  as  the  Hindu  Dharma  Tatva  of 
Gangadhar  Shastri  Phadake,  long  the  Pandit  of  the  Bombay 
Education  Society  and  Elphinstone  College  in  Bombay,  pub- 
lished only  in  a few  years  ago.*  This  author  tells  us,  for  example, 
that  the  Brahman  has  got  intelligence  (huddhi),  disposing  him 
to  his  own  six  peculiar  works;  that  the  Kshatriya  is  directed 
by  his  nature  to  his  appointed  employments  ; that  the  Yaishya 
is  urged  by  innate  inclination  to  his  prescribed  work  ; and  that 
the  Shudra  is  destined  hy  his  “ coarse  intellect”  to  his  mean 
engagements  The  four  first  castes,  he  says,  have  existed  from 
the  creation,  and  those  of  the  Sankar  (through  the  Anxdoma  and 
the  Pratiloma)  from  early  times.  The  number  of  castes,  he  holds, 
is  on  the  increase  to  the  present  day,  bringing  them, — by  differ- 
ences and  distinctions  of  country,  of  custom,  of  conduct,  of  food 
and  livelihood,  of  works  (good,  indifferent,  and  low),  of  attach- 
ment to  particular  gods,  and  of  sectarial  opinion, — up  to  ‘thou- 
sands upon  thousands.”  This  increase,  he  adds,  is  doubtless 
“according  to  the  will  of  God,”  and  not  without  its  advantages, 
which  should  be  acknowledged  by  the  powerful  Government 
of  this  country,  which  would  find  it  difficult  to  overthrow  even 
the  most  modern  of  them.  The  advantages  of  caste,  he  begs  the 
natives  to  observe,  are  undeniable,  though  he  does  not  specify 
them  ; while  there  is  nothing  disgraceful  in  the  meanest  services 
prescribed  by  the  caste  system,  the  very  Shudras  having  Mahars, 
and  Mangs,  and  others,  as  much  subordinated  to  them  as  they 
* See  Hindu  Dharrua  Tatva,  pp.  60-77. 


/ 


WHAT  CASTE  IS, 


themselves  are  subordinated  to  the  Brahmans.  To  persons  of 
low-caste  seeking  learning,  not  called  for  by  their  original  posi- 
tion, he  expresses  no  good  will,  as  he  teaches  that  they  will 
upset  the  order  of  things,  to  the  production  of  general  inconve- 
niences and  difficulties.  In  all  this  he  is  but  a representative 
man  of  the  orthodox,  and  still  prevailing,  school.  Old  India 
directs  its  uniform  effort  to  the  conservation  of  caste  with  all  its 
peculiarities  and  pretensions.  Everything  adverse  to  caste  it 
interprets  as  a sure  sign  or  omen  of  the  advance  of  the  Kali 
Yuga,  or  iron  age,  preparatory  to  the  destruction  of  the  universe, 
as  guessed  at  in  the  curious  attempts  at  prophecy  made  in  the 
Puranas,  on  the  first  threatenings  or  realization  of  Muhammadan 
conquest  in  the  North  of  India.* 


* The  following  very  curious  specimen  of  these  prophecies  is  here  worthy 
of  attention : — 

“ Men  of  three  tribes,  but  degraded,  and  A'bhiras  ."ind  Sbiidras,  will  occupy  Shauritsbtra,  Avantf,  Sliiira, 
Arbuda,  and  Marubhumi : and  Sbiidras  out-castes,  and  Barbarians  will  be  masters  of  the  banks  of  the  Indus, 
Ddrrika,  the  Chandrabhdga  and  Kashirir.  These  will  be  contemporary  monarchs,  reigning  over  the  earth  ; 
kings  of  churlish  spirit,  riolent  temper,  and  ever  addicted  to  falsehood  and  wickedness.  They  win  inflict 
death  t n women,  cliildren,  and  cows ; they  will  seize  upon  the  property  of  their  subjects,  they  will  be  of 
limited  power,  and  will  for  the  most  part  rapidly  rise  and  fall  ; their  lives  will  be  short,  their  desires  insati- 
able, and  they  will  display  but  little  piety.  The  people  of  the  various  countries  intermingling  with  them  will 
follow  their  example,  and  the  barbarians  being  powerful  in  the  patronage  of  the  princes,  whilst  purer  tribes 
are  negiectcd,  the  people  will  perish.  Wealth  and  piety  will  decrease  daybydiy,  until  the  world  will  be 
wholly  depraved.  Then  property  alone  will  confer  rank  ; wealth  will  be  the  only  source  of  devotion  ; passion 
w ill  be  the  sole  bond  of  union  between  the  sexes ; falsehood  will  be  the  only  means  of  success  in  litigation  ; 
and  women  will  be  objects  merely  of  sensual  gratification.  Earth  will  be  venerated  hut  for  its  mineral 
treasures  ; the  Brahmanical  thread  will  constitute  a Brahman  ; external  types  (as  the  staff  and  red  garb) 
will  be  the  only  distinctions  of  the  several  orders  of  life  ; dishonesty  will  be  the  universal  means  of  sub- 
sistence ; weakness  will  be  the  cause  of  dependence ; menace  and  presumption  will  be  substituted  for  learning, 
liberality  will  be  devotion  ; simple  ablution  will  be  purification  ; mutual  assent  win  be  marriage ; fine  cicthes 
will  be  dignity  ; and  water  afar  off  will  be  esteemed  a holy  spring . Amidst  all  castes  he  who  is  the  strongest 
will  reign  over  a principality  thus  vitiated  by  many  faults.  The  people  unable  to  bear  the  heavy  burdens 
imposed  upon  them  by  their  avaricious  sovereigns,  will  take  refuge  among  the  valleys  of  the  mountains,  and 
will  be  glad  to  feed  upon  wild  honey,  herbs,  roots,  fiowers,  and  leaves  ; their  only  covering  will  be  the 
bark  of  trees,  and  they  will  be  exposed  to  the  cold,  and  wiud,  and  sun,  and  rain.  Ko  man’s  life  will  exceed 
three  and  twenty  years.  Thus  in  the  Kali  age  shall  decay  constantly  proceed,  until  the  human  race 
approches  its  annihilation.”  Wilson’s  Vishnu  Purdna,pp.  481-482.  For  more  matter  of  the  same  kind,  with 
curious  variations  and  discrepancies  see  pp.  622-626  of  the  same  work,  the  I2th  Skanda  of  the  Bhdgava  a, 
and  the  conclusion  of  most  of  the  other  ruranas. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- THE  A'RYAS. 


73 


V. — Origin  and  Development  of  Indian  Caste. 

The  artificial  system  of  Caste,  to  which  the  two  preced- 
ing sections  have  ’been  devoted,  was  not  the  growtli  of  a 
siimle  as:e,  or  even  of  a few  centuries.  The  exhibition  of 
its  origin  and  development  is  the  great  d&sideratum  in  all 
researches  into  the  history  of  the  social  life  of  India. 
It  is  to  be  regretted  that  the  materials  for  such  an  ex- 
hibition are  but  of  limited  extent  and  of  difficult  interpre- 
• tation.  AVe  arrange  our  notices  of  them,  as  far  as  pi*ac- 
ticable,  in  chronological  order. 

1.  AVe  begin  with  gleanings  from  the  Vedas. 

The  earliest  sources  of  information  on  Indian  society 
are,  of  course,  the  oldest  portions  of  the  vast  and  vari- 
ed body  of  Indian  literature,  denominated  the  Vedas. 
In  referring  to  them  for  this  information,  which  can  be 
collected  only  with  much  labour,  we  must  distinctly 
recognise  their  peculiar  character  as  literary  and  religious 
works. 

The  word  VMa,  as  we  have  elsewhere  said,  may  be 
rendered  Fount-of- Knowledge  or  of  Ausion,  its  root  ap- 
pearing in  the  Greek  and  t’tSw,  Latin  vido 

and  video,  and  Englisli  The  works  to  which 

this  name  is  applied,  however,  have  no  comprehensive 
contents  suitable  to  their  designation, — which  appears  to 
have  been  given  them  merely  because  of  their  great 
age  and  estimated  venerable  character,  as  embodying 
the  religious  songs  and  hymns  of  the  ancient  Indians. 


* India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  15. 
10 


74 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


They  are  four  iu  number,  the  Rig,  Sama,  Yajur,  and 
Atharva.  The  Big- Veda,  which  contains  their  oldest 
material  and  in  its  oldest  form,  lias,  in  its  Sanhita  or 
collection,  some  11,000  or  12,000  distichs  or  liichas 
(from  whence  it  receives  its  name),  arranged  in  Sidctas, 
or  Hymns,  principally  according  to*  their  authors  and 
the  gods  to  whom  they  are  addressed.  The  Yajur  (li- 
terally sacrificial)  Veda,  occurs  in  two  collections — the 
Krishna,  or  Black,  the  more  ancient,  bearing  also  the  name 
of  the  TaiUiriya  (probably  derived  from  the  school  or 
sect  by  whom  it  was  formed) — and  the  ShuJda,  or  White, 
bearing  also  the  name  of  the  Vdjasanei/a,  of  an  origin 
similar  to  that  now*  mentioned.  A large  portion  of 
its  materials  in  both  forms  is  derived  from  the  Rig, 
to  about  the  half  of  wdiicli  it  is  equal  in  the  ex- 
tent of  matter  in  both  of  its  forms  united.*  The  Santa 
Veda,  w'hich  is  said  by  the  Brahmans  to  have  7,000 
verses,  f draws  almost  the  whole  of  its  contents  from 
the  Rig,  selecting  them,  however,  iu  small  portions  from 
particular  hymns,  and  arranging  them  principall}'^  for 
sacrificial  chanting  at  the  soma  sacrifices  by  a parti- 
cular class  of  priests.  J The  Atharva  VMa,  which  is  said 

*-In  the  Black  Yajur  Veda,  there  appear  in  the  MS.  before  me 
to  be  about  1836  distichs. 

f In  Dr.  Stevenson’s  edition  it  occupies  only  some  3,395  lines.  In 
Benfey’si  it  has  about  2735. 

Though  most  of  the  Hymns  (Siiktas,  laudations, — from  sii  good  and 
ai-ta  spoken)  of  the  Rig-Ve  da  are  intended  for  personal  and  family 
use,  it  is  obvious  from  some  of  them,  of  later  composition  than  their 
associates  in  the  Sanhita  or  collection,  that  a somewhat  definite  order 
had  been  adopted  by  the  parties  acting  as  priests  when  these  later 
hymns  were  composed.  Thus,  e.  g.  in  R.  V.  ii.  5.  varga  17,  we  have 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS. 


to  have  G,015  verses,  is  posterior  to  the  others  in  compo- 
sition ; and  it  is  mostly  filled  with  incantations  and  curses 
and  blessings..  It  takes  only  a few  of  its  pieces  from 
the  hymns  of  the  Rig',  and  principally  from  those  of 
latest  composition. 

The  representation  of  what  may  be  called  the  Vedic 
jieriod  of  time  is  to  be  sought  for  principally  in  the  Jlig- 
Vcda,  because  the  pieces  which  it  contains  are  found 
individually,  though  not  in  chronological  arrangement, 
in  their  original  form,  and  because  it  is  the  great  fount 
from  which  the  contents  of  the  other  Vedas  have,  in  so  far 

t 

as  they  represent  that  period,  been  drawn  ; and  to  it 
the  chief  inquiries  into  that  period  have  to  be  directed. 

The  chronological  limits  of  the  oldest  Vedic  period, 
ju'operly  called  by  Dr.  Max  Muller  the  Chhandas, — that 
in  which  the  Chants  or  Sono-s  of  the  Vedas  were  first 
composed, — has  been  shown  by  that  able  scholar,  in  per- 
fect consistency  with  the  researches  of  other  orientalists, 
to  range  from  between  the  year  1200  to  1000  B.  C.,"^ 
embracino-  the  time,  accordino^  to  our  received  Hebrew 
chronology,  intervening  between  Gideoif  the  judge,  and 
Solomon  the  king,  of  Israel- 

The  light  which  the  Vedas,  viewed  in  connection  with 
the  language  in  which  they  are  composed,  throw  on 
the  ethnical  relationship  and  geographical  position,  and 
social  condition,  of  the  Indians  at  that  remote  period, , 

this  verse  ; “ Thine,  Agni,  is  the  office  of  the  Ilotr,  of  the  FotrJ.,  of 

the  Fitvij,  of  the  Ncslit.^i  ; thou  art  the  Agnidhm  of  the  devout  ; thine 
is  the  function  of  the  Prashastri  ; thou  art  the  Adhvaryu  and  the 
Brahma  ; and  the  householder  in  our  dwelling.” 

* History  of  Ancient  Sanskrit  Literature,  p.  572. 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


71) 

tliongh  of  a limited,  is  still  of  an  interesting  and  valu- 
able, character. 

The  language  of  tlie  Vedas, — which  afthr  it  enjoj'ed 
posterior  culture,  came  to  be  denominated  the  Sanshrita 
(literally  concreata)  or  cultivated, — has  been  found  to  be 
intimately  connected,  both  in  grammar  and  vocables, 
not  only  with  the  ancient  languages  of  Persia,  ultimate- 
ly denominated  the  Zand  and  Pahlvi,  but  wuth  the 
Greek,  Latin,  Gothic,  Celtic,  and  other  European  lan- 
guages, comprehended  in  the  Indo-Teutonic  family.  Of 
these  languages,  it  is  not  the  parent,  but  ijie  sister  or 
cousin,  as  has  been  seen  from  their  philological  compar- 
ison, each  of  them  throwing  its  own  light  on  the  pecu- 
liar forms  and  states  in  wdiich  their  oldest  words  first 
became  current,  when  established  by  conventional 
usage ; and  each  of  them  containing  proofs  of  subsequent 
invention  and  modification  of  words  accordino-  to  the  cos- 
mic  and  social  experience,  thought,  feeling,  and  culture 
of  the  divergent  and,  in  some  instances,  Avidely-separated 
tribes  to  which  they  belong.  They  are  merely  fragments 
of  an  older  language  spoken  by  the  progenitors  of  these 
tribes,  acknowledging  a common  origin,  and  long  kept 
united  by  intercourse  and  common  infcerests.On  this 
matter  a perfect  consent  of  orientalists  has  been  gener- 
ated and  expressed  of  late  years.  The  qase  has  been 
• well  put  by  Dr.  Max  Miiller,  who,  after  giving  examples 
of  the  grammatical  afiinity  and  verbal  accordance  of 
the  cognate  languages  now  referred  to,  thus  Avrites : — 
“ Hence  all  these  dialects  point  to  some  more  ancient  lan- 
guage Avhich  was  to  them  what  Latin  was  to  the  Romance 
dialects, — only  that  at  that  early  period  there  was  no  liter- 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS. 


77 


ature  to  preserve  to  us  some  remnants  of  that  mother- 
tougiie  that  died  in  giving  birth  to  the  modern  Arian 
dialects,  such  as  Sanskrit,  Zend,  Greek,  Latin,  Gothic, 
Windic,  and  Celtic-  Yet,  if  there  is  any  tnith  in  in- 
ductive reasoning,  that  language  was  once  a living  lan- 
guage, spoken  in  Asia  by  a small  tribe,  nay  originally 
by  a small  family  living  under  one  and  the  same  roof, 
as  the  language  of  Caraoens,  Cervantes,  Voltaire,  and 
Dante,  was  once  spoken  by  a few  peasants  who  had 
built  their  huts  on  the  Seven  Hills  near  the  Tibris.  If 
we  compare  the  two  tables  of  paradigms,  the  coinci- 
dences between  the  language  of  the  Veda  and  the  dialect 
spoken  at  the  present  day  by  the  Lithuanian  recruit  at 
Berlin  aregreaterby  far  than  between  French  and  Italian  ; 
and,  after  Bopp’s  Comparative  Grammar  has  been  com- 
pleted, it  will  be  seen  clearly  that  all  the  essential  forms 
of  grammar  had  been  fully  framed  and  established  be- 
fore the  first  separation  of  the  Arian  family  took  place.”* * * § 

The  Sanskrit  is  more  closely  allied  to  wdiat  has  been  • 
called  the  Zand,f  the  language  of  the  remains  of  the  an- 
cient Zoroastrian  literature,  than  to  anv  of  its  other  cos’- 
nate  tongues.  So  much  is  this  the  case  that  some  re- 
spectable  orientalists,  as  the  late  General  Vans  Kennedy^ 
and  Mr.  JohnEomer  of  the  Bombay  Civil  Service,§  have 

* !Muller  on  Comparative  Mythology  (Oxford  Essays,  1856j  p.  13. 

t This  word  is  widely  applied  by  the  Parsi's  both  to  the  text  and 
comments  of  their  ancient  books ; but,  as  suggested  by  Dr.  Muller, 
it  is  probably  connected  with  the  Sanskrit  Chhandas,  poetical  metre, 
or  Chants. 

^ Researches  into  the  Affinity  of  Languages,  pp.  162-192. 

§ Zend  : is  it  a language  ? London,  1858. 


78 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


held  that  the  Zand  is  merely  an  artificial  fabrication  from 
the  Sanskrit  made  by  the  Farsi  priests  of  India.  On  this 
matter  we  made  the  following;  remarks  in  1842  : — 
“ Whether  or  not  the  Farsi  priests  in  India,  from  tlieir 
traditional  reminiscences  of  the  ancient  languages  could 
have  fabricated  some  of  the  Zand  writings,  I shall  not 
positively  assert.  There  is  a poverty  in  the  expression 
of  some  of  these  wTitings,  particularly  of  the  minor  litur- 
gical pieces,  which  shows  that  their  authors  had  no 
ready  command  of  the  language  in  which  they  wrote. 
There  is  an  approach  to  Gujarati  idiom,  in  some 
instances,  and  to  a Gujarati  corruption  of  Sanskrit, 
which  at  one  time  awakened  considerable  suspicions  in 
my  mind.  Viewing  the  matter  of  the  Zand  language, 
however,  in  its  general  aspect,  I have  no  hesitation  in 
declaring  that  none  of  the  exiled  and  depressed  Farsi 
priests  in  India  can  be  supposed  to  have  had  the  ability 
to  invent  that  language,  with  its  extensive  and  minute 
, grammatical  forms,  and  with  its  abundant  and  regular 
analogies  to  the  Sanskrit,  Fersian,  Fahlvi,  Greek,  Latin, 
and  Germanic  languages,  as  so  distinctly  evinced  hy 
Bopp  and  Burnouf,  and  evident  to  the  general  student, 
and  to  write  of  a state  of  society  altogether  different 
from  that  in  wdiich  they  themselves  were  placed,  and 
in  many  respects  dissimilar  to  that  to  which  the  legends 
of  the  Shahnamah  and  other  similar  -works,  to  which 
they  attach  some  importance,  refer.”* 

The  judgment  here  expressed  has  been  amply  con- 
firmed by  the  latest  lingual  researches  both  in  Europe 
and  India-  It  is  now  admitted  hy  .every  competent 

* Autlior’s  work  on  tlie  Farsi  Keligion,pp.  40G-7. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-TIIE  A'RYAS. 


79 


philologist  that  both  the  Sanskrit  and  the  Zand  have 
not  only  had  a common  parent  ; but  that  the  people 
among  whom  they  originally  assumed  their  ultimate 
forms  were  longer  united  in  social  fellowship  than  the 
peoples,  diverging-  from  the  same  common  stock, 
with  whom  the  Latin,  Greek,  and  other  Indo-Teutonic 
languages  received  their  peculiar  expansion  and  culture. 
]\lost  interesting-  has  it  been  to  observe  that  the 
predominant  race  mentioned  in  the  Vedas  bears  through- 
out these  works  the  designation  of  A'ryya,  (or  A-rya)  thus 
indicating  the  country  from  which  it  came  to  India — the 
Airya  o?  the  Parsi  sacred 'writings,  applied  both  generi- 
cally  to  the  land  devoted  to  the  doctrines  and  rites  of 
the  Avasta  (the  Zoroastrian  liturgical  course  and  code) 
as  opposed  to  Tuirya,  and  specially  to  Airyana  Vaejo,  the 
pure  or  primitive  Airya-  This  Ainja  is  the  Ariya  of  the 
Persian  and  tlie  Arriya  of  the  Scythian  tablets  of  the 
Achsemenian  Kings  at  Behistun*  ; the  Anana  of  the 
Greeks,  recognized  in  the  designation  of  the  Arxan 
people  as  early  as  the  times  of  Herodotusf  ; and  the 
eastern  h 'an  of  modern  days.  The  value  of  this  dis- 
covery, which  belongs  to  European  research,  is  enhanced 
and  not  diminished  by  the  fact  that  the  modern 
Brahmanical  commentators  on  the  Vedas  have  interpreted 
the  word  A'rya  merely  as  a designation,  meanfng 

* See  Eawlinson’s  Persian  Cuneiform  Inscriptions  in  Journal  of 
R.  A.  S.  vol.  X.  ; Westergaard,  in  Transactions  of  R.  S.  N.  A. ; and 
Norris  on  the  Scythic  text  of  the  Behistun  Inscriptions,  in  J.  R.  A.  S. 
vol.  XV. 

-j-  Sec  the  passages  of  Herodotus,  referring  to  this  matter,  extracted 
and  illustrated  in  Muir’s  Sanskrit  Texts,  vol.  ii.  pp.  289,  290. 


80 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


“ respectable  as  it  testifies  to  tlie  success  Avith  which 
foreigners,  so  long  debarred  from  the.  acquisition  and  perus- 
al of  the  YMas,  are  now  studying  them.  Though,  as 
we  have  elsewhere  said,  “ There  are  instances  in  the 
Vedas  in  which  the  word  A'Tya  seems  to  be  used  in  the 
sense  of  high  or  respectable,  this  is  perhaps  a figurative 
use  of  the  word,  according  to  the  well-known  analogy 
of  our  adjective  frank,"  expressive  of  the  qualities 
strikingly  exhibited  in  the  Frank  people.  In  the  event 
of  arya  or  arya,  in  the  sense  of  high  or  respectable,” 
being  the  origin  of  the  name  of  the  countiy,  A rya  is 
probably  equivalent  to  “ Highlands.”*  This  opinion  is 
strengthened  by  the  notice  taken  of  Airyana  Vaejo  in 
the  first  fargard  of  the  Vandidad  of  the  Parsls,  which  is 
there  mentioned  as  the  first  of  the  countries  created  by 
Ahura-Mazda  or  Hormazd,  and  as  having  had  a change 
of  climate  produced  in  it  by  Anghro-Mainyu  or  Ahriman, 
o’ivinof,  according  to  one  form  of  tradition  mentioned  in 
the  text,  ten  months  of  winter  and  only  two  of  summer, 
and  according  to  another  seven  of  summer  and  five  of 
winter, — thus  indicating,  when  the  legends  are  interpreted, 
both  a high  elevation  and  a northern  latitude.  Professor 
Lassen  supposes  that  this  district  was  on  the  western 
slopes  of  the  Belurtag  and  Mustag,  in  the  district  in 
which  the  rivers  Oxus  and  Jaxartes  rise  ; and  that  it 
formed  the  original  seat  of  both  the  Iranian  and  Indian 
nations.t  Its  connexion  with  the  former  is  rendered  pro- 
bable not  merely  by  geographical  considerations,  but  by 
the.  fact  that  Persian  is  spoken  in  the  district  to  the  pre- 

* Author’s  India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  17. 

t Lassen’s  Indische  Altherthumskunde,  i.  526-527. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS. 


81 


sent  day  by  tlie  oldest  tribes  of  Kashghar,  Yarkand, 
Khoten,  Aksii  (the  Oxus  land),  Turfan,  and  KhamiL* 
On  the  course  of  the  spread  of  the  AVyas  from  the 
quarter  now  mentioned,  but  little  light  can  now  be  shed. 
Their  locations  as  comprehended  in  the  districts 
known  to  the  early  Iranians  are  thus  enumerated  in 
the  Tarsi  Vandidad.  We  give  their  names  in  parallel 
columns,  with  the  identifications  which  have  been  made 
of  them  by  several  distinguished  literary  authorities. 


Vandidad.  Pdrsis.  (a) 

2 -Airyana  Vaejo.  Iran 

C'ughdho Shurik  .... 

3 Mduru Marwa  .... 

4 Bakhdi Bokhara  . . 

SXicdi  Ifesapur  .. 

G Hardy  Haleb 

(Aleppo) 

7 Vaekereta,  the  Kabul 

Duzbaka  (Hell 
land)  

8 Urva Orwe 

9 Khefita,  with  Gurgana  or 

Bchrkiina.  Jurgan. 

10  Haraqaiti  ....Hermand  .. 

11  liaetumat  ....  Sistan  .... 


12  Kagha Rei  ^ 

13  Chakhra Chin  

14  Varcna  Kirman  or 

Padashkhir- 

gar, 

15  Hapta-llefidu  Hindustan. , 
(Seven  Rivers) 

16  (Described)  . . Khorasan  , , 


Bumoiif.  (b) 

Ariana 

Sogdiana 


Country  of  the 
two  Marwas. 

Bactra 

Kisaia 

Land  of  the 
Zarangaj  and 
Drangaj.§ 
Sejistiin  


Lassen,  (c)  llaug.  (d) 

Ariana Ariana. 

Sogd Gan  of  5ugh- 

dho.f 

Maru,  Marw 

Bactra Bactra. 

Nisaia  Nisaia. 

Herat  Aria  (of  the 

Greeks)  Herat. 

, Sejistan,  with  Sejistan. 

its  capital 
Dushak. 

Unknown Kabul 

Hyrcania Kandahar. 


Arachosia  . . . . Arachotus  . . • . Arachosia. 
Etymandros  Etymandros  ••  Hilmend  (valley, 
(near  Hermand-  near  river  of 

river.  same  name). 

‘Pa7«‘ Rhaga:  of  the 

classics,  pre- 
sent Rei. 

• Chinrem  of  Fer-  City  in  Khora- 

dausi.  san. 

Varuna  of  the  Ghilan. 

Indians. 


The  Seven 
dies. 


In-  The  Seven 
dies. 


In-  Indus 


Country 
(seven  rivers). 
Near  “ the  cir- 
cumambient 


* See  Lassen,  ut  supra. 

t Ofrtolcmy.  t Having  for  its  dwelling-place  5ughdo. 

§ In  Etymology  corresponding  with  the  Sanskrit  Sarayu.  ^ Near  Telierdn. 

(a)  Author's  Tdrsi  Religion,  p.  294.  (b)  Commentaire  sur  1’ Yacna. 

<c)  Indische  .Utherthumskunie  i.  p.  527-26. 

, (d)  First  Chapter  of  Vandiddd  in  Bunsen's  Egypt,  vol.  iii.  pp.  473-500. 

II 


82 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Tlie  Baron  Bunsen*  thinks  that  the  districts  above  men- 
tioned were  the  halting  places  of  the  ATvas  in  their  gradual 
mai-ch  and  progress,  by  extension,  to  the  land  of  the  Seven 
Rivers  ; hut  without  taking  this  easy  view  of  what  may 
he  only  a general  geographical  notice  according  to  the 
notions  of  the  ancient  Zoroastrians,  we  may  neyertheless 
refer  to  the  first  fargard  of  theVandidad  as  throwing  some 
light  on  the  expansion  of  the  A'ryas  in  the  du-ection  of 
India,  into  which  they  probably  entered  either  by  the 
western  passes  of  the  Hindu  Kush,  by  the  eastern  road 
leading  from  Kabul  to  the  Indus,  or  from  Hirdt,  round 
the  promontories  of  the  Paropamisus  through  Arachosia 
to  Ghazna,  and  thence  by  the  Boland  Pass  to  the  Indus.t 
On  the  position  of  the  AVyas  in  their  original  Indian 
seats,  we  haye  lately  thus  written  : — 

“ At  the  time  at  which  the  earlier  portions  of  the 
A’edas  were  composed,  the  A rvas  were  principally  located 
oil  the  hanks  of  the  various  atilueiits  of  the  Indus  and 
the  province  now  denominated  the  Panjah.  Though 
Savana  A'charva,  the  great  Brahmaiiical  commentator  on 
the  ^ edas,  who  flourished  so  late  as  the  fourteenth 
century  after  Christ,  interprets  the  rivers  mentioned  in 
the  Vedas  as  the  great  sti'eams  of  modern  India,  the  text 
of  the  Veda  gives  him  no  authority  for  so  douig.  The 
rivers  of  the  Vedas  seem  all  to  have  been  before  the 
immediate  observation  of  the  writers  of  the  Hymns 
{Siiktas)  of  which  the  collection  of  the  Rig  Veda  is  com- 

* Egypt  iii  p.  459-99. 

I These  are  the  routes  indicated  by  Las.sen.  (Indische  Alther- 
thumskunde,  i.  p.  531).  Dr.  31.  Jlidler  (Hist,  of  Ancient  Sanskrit 
Literature,  p.  15.)  also  joins  with  them  the  narrow  jiasses  of  tlie 
Himalaya.  * 


£. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  ATvYAS. 


83 


posed.  ‘ Thou  Indra  hast  rescued  the  kiue,  thou  liast 
won  the  Soma  juice  ; thoii  hast  let  loose  tlie  seven  rivers 
to  flow-’*  ‘ Thou  didst  traverse  ninety  and  nine  streams 
like  a hawk.’  ‘ His  exploits  are  most  glorious,  in  that 
lie  has  replenished  the  four  rivers  of  sweet  water,  spread 
over  the  surface  of  the  earth.’f  “ All  (sacrificial)  viands 
concentrate  in  Agni  (the  god  of  fire)  as  the  seven  great 
rivers  [united]  flow  into  the  ocean.”];  In  the  Paiijah,  we 
liave  fom',  or  five,  or  seven,  or  more,  great  rivers,  accord- 
ing as  we  cross  it  to  the  North  or  South.  It  is  oh- 
viou.sly  this  district  "which  is  denominated  in  the  Vandidad 
of  the  Parsis,  as  above,  the  Hapta  Hendu^  or  Seven 
Indies,  the  word  Heudu  springing  from  Sindhu,  the 
Sanskrit  name  of  the  Indus.  Indeed,  the  Indus  is 
.specifically  mentioned  in  the  Veda  as  that  river  on  the 
hanks  of  which  some  of  the  compo.sers  of  the  Vedas 
actually  lived.  Thus,  we  have,  “ May  Sindhu,  the 
renowned  hestower  of  wealth  hear  us  (fertilizmg  our)  broad 
fields  withwater.”^  “ I repeat  with  a (willing)  nhnd  the 
praises  of  Bha\ya  [a  king]  dwelling  on  the  banks  of  the 
Sindliud'W  In  one  of  the  hymns  of  tlie  Rig- Veda,  three 
specific  streams  are  thus  mentioned  as  connected  with 
the  worshippers  of  the  Vedas  : — ‘ Gloriously  shine  forth, 

TVilson’s  Eig-Veda,  Vol.  1.  p.  88.  See  also  p.  99. 

flbid.  p.  1G8.  JIbid.  p.  189. 

§ Vandidad,  1st  fargard. 

^ Sayana  Acharya,  as  hinted  by  Prof.  Wilson,  Eig-Veda,  ii.  p.  3, 
understands  by  the  word  Sindhu  here,  5r?mTJir^  Tf.*,  the  god  presiding 
over  waters.  Even  in  this  sen.se,  however,  it  is  nothing  but  the  per- 
sonified Indus. 

Rig-Veda,  2nd  asht.  1st  adh.  11th  v. 


84 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


O Agiii,  in  tlie  places  in  wliich  the  descendants  of  Manii, 
[the  first  or  representative  Aiyan  man]  inhabit,  on  the 
hanks  of  the  Drishadvati,  the  A'payd,  and  the’  SarasvaA* * * § 
These  streams,  I am  of  opinion,  are  connected  with  the 
south-western  and  not  with  the  south-eastern  system  of 
Indian  ris  ers  Two  of  them  are  tliiis  noticed  hy  Maim  : 

‘ The  country  between  the  divine  rivers  Sarasvati  and 
Drishadvati  fonned  hy  the  gods,  is  called  Brahniavai-ta.”t 
The  Sarasvati  is  the  Sarsuti  north-west  of  Thaneshar 
(Sthaneshvar),  as  noticed  hy  Professor  "Wilson  in  his 
Vishnu  Purana.];  It  seems,  from  the  manner  in  which 
it  is  sometunes  spoken  of  in  the  Vedas,  to  have  been  a 
favoiuite  with  the  ATyas  and  tliis  probably  because  of 
some  resemblance, — such  perhaps  as  that  of  losing  itself 
in  the  sands,  for  it  etymologically  means  a lake, — which 
it  bore  to  the  Haraqaiti,  a river  in  the  original  Anya,  of 
which  it  was  the  namesake.|i  The  Drishadvati  is  supposed 

* JtFR-  BTfutritr  Rrfrrf.  Test  of  Ei<?-Vecia 

c N "o  O 

by  Muller,  toI.  ii.  p.  747. 

I Manu  ii.  17.  Sii’  W'illiam  Jones  says,  “ frequented  by  the  gods,” 
but  the  original  is  formed  by  the  gods. 

I Wilson’s  Vishnu  Purana,  p.  180. 

§ Vasishtha  devotes  to  it  alone  two  hymns  in  the  5 th  Ash  taka  of 
the  Rig- Veda. 

II  For  the  identification  of  the  name  Haraqaiti  Avith  Sarasvati, 
we  are  indebted  to  Bumouf  (Commentaire  sur  le  Yagna,  Notes  et 
E'claircissements,  p.  xcii.)  From  Haraqaiti,  the  district  of  Aracliotia 
of  the  Greeks  (Arrian.  Exped.  Alex.  iii.  cap.  23  ; Strab.  lib.  xv. 
c.  2 ; Dionys.  Perieg.  v.  1096  ; Plin.  lib.  vi.  cap.  25]  derived  its 
name.  Burnouf,  while  ascribing  a common  origin  to  the  names 
Haraqaiti  and  Sarasvati,  felt  unable  to  say  whether  Persia  or  India 
can  claim  the  original.  Noticing,  however,  the  district  of  Haroyo, 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS. 


85 


to  have  been  in  the  neighhonrliood  of  tlie  Sarasvati.  I am 
not  aAvare  that  the  A'paya  has  been  identified,  though  it 
may  he  the  Vipapa,  mentioned  in  the  Mahahharata*  along 
witli  the  Drishadvati  and  Vipasha.  In  another  of  the 
Imnns  of  the  Rig-Veda,  the  rivers  Vipat, — the  equivalent 
according  to  etymology  and  to  the  Brahmanical  commenta- 
tor on  the  Veda,  of  the  Vipasha  of  the  Mahahharata, 
and  the  origin  of  the  present  Beas, — the  Ilyphasis  or 
Bihasis  of  the  Greeks,  and  the  Chhutudri — in  later  times 
the  Shatudri  or  SatleJ, — are  mentioned  as  holding  a 
conversation  with  the  sage  Vishvamitra.  the  author  of 
many  of  the  Vedic  hymus.f  The  Vipashi  and  the 
dwellers  on  the  Vitastd, — the  Hydaspes,  or  Jhelum, 
— and  the  Saryu,  (probably  not  that  near  Ayodhya^,  are 
mentioned  in  a hymn  of  Vamdeva.|  It  is  thus  seen  that 
the  Panjab  and  its  neighbourhood  formed  the  original 
habitat  of  the  Indian  A'ryas.  The  rivers  of  the  south- 

mentioued  in  the  Vandidad  of  the  Parsis,  and  identifying  the  Avord  Avitli 
Sarayu  tiie  name  of  an  Indian  river  ^now  the  Sarju,)  he  justly 
observes  that  the  Zand  Haroyo  is  the  more  ancient  form  of  the  word 
as  far  as  the  vowels  are  concerned  (p.  ciii.  et  seq.)  Lassen  concurs  in 
the  views  of  Bumouf.  He  notes  also  the  agreement  of  the  Zand 
Haraqaiti  Aviththe  Ilarakhvatis  of  the  cuneiform  inscriptions  and  of  the 
people,  too,  of  these  inscriptions  called  Hariwa  (in  the  plural),  con- 
tracted'for  Harayawa,  from  Harayu  the  river,  noAv  named  the  Heri- 
md.  The  name  of  Harayu  {Sarayit  in  Sanskrit),  he  thinks  Avas  given 
in  after  times  by  the  Indians  to  the  river  near  Ayodha,  in  com- 
memoration of  that  of  Arachosia. 

* Bhishma  Parva,  ii.  342.  Langlois,  in  his  translation  of  the 
Rig-Veda,  tom.  ii  p.  230,  says,”  “ Je  ne  sais  quelle  est  la  riviere  qui 
portait  la  nomme  d’Apaya. 

I Rig-Veda,  Muller’s  text,  vol.  ii.  p.  828. 

J Rig-Veda  3d  Adh.  Gth.  Asht.  20th — 22d.  v. 


86 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


eastern  system  arc  brought  to  notice  in  the  more  advanced 
portions  of  the  Rig-Veda,  The  Yamuna  and  the  Gomaf  'i 
are  first  mentioned  1)V  Shayavashva,  ‘ a descendant  of 
Atri,”  in  the  fourth  Aslitaka."^  The  Ganga  (Ganges)  is 
only  once  mentioned,  and  that  in  the  eighth  or  last 
Ashtaka.f  I have  seen  no  allusion  to  the  tiger  in  the 
Vedas,'  though  occasional  mention  is  made  in  them  of  the 
lion.  This  is  a presumption  that  the  Rishis,  at  the  time 
of  their  composition,  had  not  yet  reached  the  land  of  the 
tiger.  The  distinctive  lake  Sharyauavati  is  sometimes 

* Rig- Veda  4tli  aslitak,  3d  adliy.  (Muller,  ii.  452.)  The 
Yamuna  is  also  mentioned  by  Vasishtha,  viewed  by  the  Hindu  legends 
as  a contemporary  of  Vishvamitra,  Rig-Veda  5tli  asht.  2d  adh. 
In  reference  to  the  Gomati,  Professor  Wilson  27th.  Varga,  (iii.  p. 
34G)  says  : “ It  would  be  the  Gomati  river  in  Oude,”  or  it  may 

be  a river  of  the  same  appellation,  more  to  the  north-west  “ rising 
in  Kulu,  a feeder  of  the  Beyah,  or  Vyasa.” 

f This  is  in  a hymn  addressed  to  the  personified  Rivers,  the  4th 
of  the  3rd.  adhy.  In  this  hymn,  the  SincUiu  (which  is  in  the  masculine 
gender,  while  all  the  others  are  in  the  femininp)  is  spoken  of  as  the 
chief  l iver.  With  it  are  invoked  other  rivers  in  the  following  order  : 
— Gangd  ; Yamuna  ; Sarasvatl  ; Shutudn,  with  the  Parnsjad,  the 
Ilydraotes  from  “ Iriivati”  ; the  Asihii,  the  Chandrabhiiga,  (identified 
from  the  “ Akesines,”  as  by  Lassen),  and  the  3Iam/clvridhd,  the 
ITtasta  (Ilydaspesfor  Vydaspes)  ; the  Arjikiga,  with  the  Su-dtoma, 
the  Trishtdma,  the  Bdsd,  the  Sve'ti,  and  the  Kublici  (associated  with 
the  Sindhu)  [probably  the  Kophen]  ; and  the  Gomati,  and  the 
Knimu.  The  Basd  several  times  alluded  to  in  the  Vedas,  the  Kuhlid^ 
the  Anitablid,  the  Krumu,  and  the  Sarayu  are  mentioned  by  Shyava- 
shva  in  the  hymn  following  that  in  which  he  mentions  the  Yamuna. 
Rig-Veda,  4th  asht.  3d  adh.  12th  v.  These  in  all  probability  were 
connected  with  the  same  (the  Sindhu)  system  of  rivers.  In  R.  V. 
4tli  asht.  7th  adh.  26th  varga,  the  adjective  Gdngija,  probably 
meaning  “ flowing,  or 'swift,  river,”  occurs. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS. 


87 


mentioned  as  in  the  dominions  of  the  pious  Rijika  It 
is  supposed  to  have  been  in  Avhat  was  afterwards  known 
as  the  country  of  Kurukshetra.”* 

The  A'ryas  in  Imha,  if  we  may  judge  from  the  Veda 
and  other  later  works,  take  little  or  no  notice  of  their' 
entrance  into  the  country  from  other  regions  of  the  world. 
Yet  the  intelligent  reader  of  the  Vedas  can  easily  infer 
that  when  the  materials  of  these  works  were  prepared,  the 
Aryas  of  whom  they  treat  were  not  in  then-  primitive 
country.  They  counted  their  years  l)y  “ winters,”  indi- 
cating a country  in  Avhich  the  cold  season  was  peculiarly 
marked.f  They  laid  great  stress  on  the  ashvamedha,  or 
horse-sacrifice  like  the  northern  tribes.  Compared  with 
their  neighbours  they  had  a white  or  fam  complexion. 
I’hey  were  not  fully  or  peaceably  established  in  the  terri- 
tories ill  which  they  were  then  found.  The  facts  to  which 
I liave  now  referred  have  not  escaped  the  notice  of  the 
learned  and  cautious  translator  of  the  Rig- Veda,  Profes- 
sor H.  H.  Wilson.  “ That  they  (the  ancient  Indians), 
he  says,  had  extended  themselves  from  a more  northern 
race  is  rendered  probable  from  the  jieculiar  expression 
used,  on  more  than  one  occasion,  in  soliciting  long  life, 
Avhen  the  worshipper  asks  fora  hundred  winters  (himas), 
a boon  not  likely  to  be  desired  by  the  natives  of  a warm 
climate.  They  appear  also  to  have  been  a fau-com- 
plexioned  people,  at  least  comparatively,  and  foreign 

* 7th  asht.  2d  Adh.  5th  varga.  India  Three  Thousand  Years  ago, 
p.  21-25. 

t Dr.  Stevenson  -was,  I believe,  the  first  person  to  direct  attention 
ty  this  fact.  See  his  translation  of  the  Sama-Veda,  p.  86.  In  addi- 
tion to  this  first  translation  of  the  Sama,  we  have  that  of  Dr.  Benfey, 
in  German,  accompanied  by  a critical  apparatus. 


88 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


invaders  of  India,  as  it  is  said  that  India  (the  god  of  the 
Ether  or  Fuiuament)  divided  the  fields  among  his  white- 
complexioned  fiiends  after  destroying  the  indigenous  har- 
hariaii  races,  for  such  there  can  he  little  doubt  we  are  to 
understand  by  the  expression  Dasyu,  which  so  often  recm-s, 
and  which  is  often  defined  to  signify  one  who  not  only 
does  not  perform  religious  rites  but  attempts  to  harass 
then-  performers.”*  The  Dasyus,  here  mentioned,  are 
doubtless  the  Daqi/us  of  the  Parsi  sacred  imtings,  and  the 
Dahxjas  of  the  Behistun  tablets,  rendered  by  “ countries” 
or  “ provinces,”  probably  of  an  exterior  position  like  the 
Goim  or  Gentiles  of  the  Hebrews.  They  were  not  alto- 
gether barbarians  ; for  they  had  distinctive  cities  and 
other  establishments  of  at  least  a partial  civilization, 
though  the  A'ryas,  lately  from  more  bracing  climes  than 
those  which  they  inhabited,  proved  too  strong  for  them.'f' 

That  the  Aryas  of  India  had  been  most  intimately  con- 
nected with  the  Iranians,  we  have  decided  proof,  not  only 
in  the  relationships  of  their  language,  and  their  common 
designation  now  adverted  to,  but  in  much  which  (irith 
certain  antagonisms  easily  understood  on  the  principle  of 
posterior  religious  specidation  and  contest)  was  common 
in  their  early  relijfious  creed  and  obseiwances.  Many  of 
the  gods,  or  objects  of  worship,  of  the  Veda  and  the  Ai  asta 
are  identical-  Each  of  these  works  has  its  god  of  Fire  in 
Ayni  and  A tars,  which,  howevei-,  ai-e  probably  not  ehino- 

* Wilson’s  Eig-Yeda,  vol.  i.  p.  xlii. 

f Author’s  India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  19.  In  Eig- 
Yeda,  3d  asht.  1st  adh.  12th  varga,  Indra  and  Agni  are  represented 
as  overthrowing  ninety  cities  of  which  Ddsas  >vere  the  lords  ( ddsa 
patnih  purah). 


OKIC.IN  OF  CASTE-THE  A RYAS  AND  IRANIANS.  89 


logically  connected  with  one  another.  Vixyii  or  Vatu, 
the  Vedic  AYind,  is  the  Zandic  Vaijd  or  Vata.  The  Indian 
designations  of  the  Sun,  Asura,  Mitni,  Silr,  Siiri/a  and 
Scar,  find  their  equivalents  in  the  Iranian  Mithra, 

Hvare  (gen.  hard),  often  given  as  Hvare-Kshaeta,  the 
ruling  or  glorious  sun.  Corresponding  with  the  Sanskrit 
Ushas,  the  Dawui,  w^e  have  the  Zandic  UsIidongJi.  The 
moon  (Chandra)»m5  of  the  Veda,  is  recognized  as  the 
Mdongh  of  the  Avasta.  The  A'pah  or  Waters,  per- 
sonified in  the  Vedas,  and  the  Aptyas  there  represented 
as  water  gods,  have  as  their  correspondents,  in  the 
Avasta,  A'po  and  A'thwya,  Among  the  personifica- 
tions of  the  Veda  is  Ayhci,*  the  goddess  of  evil,  cor- 
responding in  some  respects  (though  not  with  tlie  dual- 
istic  notions  of  Zoroaster)  with  the  Ahriman  of  the  Par- 
sis,  or  in  Zend  Anghro-Mainyu,  the  ugly-minded  or  evil- 
minded-one.  In  the  Vedic  Vanina  (the  ovpavdg  of  the 
Greeks)  we  have, in  the  ideaofboundlessheavenly  space,  the 
correspondent  of  the  Varena  of  the  Avasta.  The  Vishve-De- 
vas,  spoken  of  in  the  Vedas  as  the  Collective  gods,  and  some- 
times as  special  gods,  the  Protectors  of  men,  correspond,  with 
numerical  and  other  modifications,  with  the  Amshds- 
pands  and  Izads  of  the  Parsis.f  The  Piiris,  or  typical 

* See  Note  in  India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  72. 

f “ The  Zand  word  for  Izad  is  yazata,  which  means  an  object 
of  worship.  It  corresponds  exactly  Avith  the  Sanskrit 
yajata,  which  occurs  in  the  Rig-Veda  (Sanhita  B.  I.  ch.  iii.  h. 
34,  st.  7 ) and  Avhich  is  explained  by  Sayana  the  commentator,  by 
yaslitavya,  and  rendered  by  Rosen  sacris  celebrandus.  M. 
Burnouf  translates  it  by  “ digne  qu’on  lui  ofFre  le  sacrifice.”  See 
Journal  Asiatique,  Octobre  1840.  The  Zand  for  Amshaspand  is 
amesha-spenta.  The  words  of  avIucIi  this  name  is  composed,  are 
correctly  represented  by  Edal  Darn  (Maujazat-i-Zarthu.sht,  p.  20,) 


90 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ancestors  often  acltlressed  in  tlie  Vedas,  correspond  with 
the  Parsi  Faruhars*  The  Soma,  as  a plant,  and  as 
the  fermented  juice  of  a plant,  much  used  in  sacrifice,  and 
as  a deified  power  delighting  god  and  exhilirating 
man,  even  to  inspiration,  stands  in  tlie  same  relationship 
in  the  Haoma  of  the  Avasta.  In  the  ninth  Ha  of  the 
Yagna  of  the  Pdrsis,  Tlaorna,  as  a god,  is  represented  as 
teacliing  Zoroaster  that  the  first  person  who  consulted 
him  was  Vivanghao,  the  father  of  Yimd,  or  Jamshid  ; the 
second,  A'thwya,  the  father  of  Thrayetyaono,  or  Faridun  ; 
the  third  Sam,  the  father  of  Urvdkhsyo  and  Kerepafpo  ; 
and  the  fourth  Paourusacpo,  the  father  of  Zaratlmstra,  or 
Zoroaster.f  In  the  Veda,  most  of  these  concepts  appear 
with  their  own  peculiarities.  The  correspondent  in  the 
Veda  of  Yimo, — who  with  the  Iranians  was  their  first  or 
ideal  man,  the  great  establisher  of  their  colonization  and 
agriculture  and  pecoriculture, — is  Yama,  the  Subduer, 
or  God  of  human  Destiny,  dealing  with  the  human 
race,  not  in  its  earthly  golden  age,  but  in  its  ultimate 
state  beyond  the  grave..J  The  father  of  Yama,  in  the 
Veda,  is  Vivashvat,  the  Vivanghat  or  Vivanghao  of  the 
Ya^na.  The  wife  of  Yama,  in  the  Veda,  is  Yann  the 
wife  or  sister  of  Yimo,  and  (to  judge  from  the  Paisi 

by  ‘ e.Kalted  immortals,’  [or  existences,  cr  saints].”  Author’s  work  on 
Parsi  Religion,  p.  129. 

* The  nominative  singular  is  in  Zand,  Fravashis.  The  noun  is 
feminine.  The  Zand  names,  or  rather  denominations,  of  the  Faruhars 
have  a figurative  meaning. 

f Author’s  Parsi  Religion,  p.  400. 

i See  "Westergaard  on  Ancient  Iranian  Mythology,  in  J.  B.  B.  R. 
A.  S.  1853. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- THE  A'RYAS  AND  IRANIANS.  91 


Buudeshne)  Jeme  or  Jemake*  Trita,  or,  Traitana 
(the  adjective  form  of  the  same  name),  is  a mythological 
personage  of  the  Veda  associated  with  Yama,  and,  as 
pointed  out  by  l)r-  Roth,  the  correspondent  of  Thray^t- 
aonaA  Kereqacpo,  as  shown  by  the  same  scholar,  has 
also  a figurative  position  in  the  Veda.  Nahanazdista 
and  Xdbhdnedishtha  the  son  of  Mann  (R.  V*  viii.  1.29 
are  also  remarkable  mythical  accordances,  both  in  the 
Avasta  and  Veda.t  The  form  of  the  hymns  of  the 
Yagna  and  the  Yagts  of  the  Avasta,  as  noticed  many 
years  ag:o,  has  much  resemblance  to  that  of  the  Veda. 
The  designations,  both  characteristic  and  technical,  of 
the  priests  and  worshippers  of  the  Veda  and  of  the 
Avasta  often  asree.*!  So  do  the  words  used  in  these 
works  expressive  of  praise  and  sacrifice-H  And  so  do 
some  of  the  common  instruments  of  worship,  as  the 

* Dr.  Rotli,  to  whom  we  are  greatly  indebted  for  the  illustration 
both  of  the  Veda  and  Avasta,  first  brought  this  coincidence  to  notice  in 
the  Z.  D.  I\r.  G.  vol.  iv.  p.  417. 

+ See  Zeitschrift  der  Deutschen  Morg.  Ges.  baud  ii.  s.  216  ; and 
abstract  of  Roth’s  paper  by  Dr.  J.  Murray  Mitchell  in  Journal  of  B.  B. 
R.  A.S.  July,  1852.  Atliimja,  (in  Persian  Aibin  or  Aitfa,)  as  mentioned 
in  the  passage  from  the  Yacna  quoted  above,  is  the  flvther  of  Thraetyaono. 
The  patronymic  of  Trita,  in  the  Veda  (R.  V.  i.  7.  v.  21)  is  A'ptya,  a 
water  ruler.  Trita  in  the  Veda  fights  against  the  aerial  serpent  {ahis'^ 
or  enemy,  carrying  off  the  cows  (clouds)  which  would  otherwise  yield 
their  nourishing  millc  ; and  TJiraetaona  opposes  the  ashi-dahak,  the 
destroying  (earthly)  serpent,  the  author  of  evil. 

J See  Lassen’s  Ind.  Altherthumskunde,  i.  516. 

liSee  Pars!  Religion  by  the  Author,  pp.  226-227.  To  the  instances 
there  given  that  of  the  Sanskrit  Atharva  and  the  Zand  A'thrava,  a 
priest,  literally  a Fireman  (ut  sup.  p.  209),  may  be  added. 

II  Pars!  Religion,  pp.  268-271. 


92 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Havni  of  the  Brahmans  and  the  Havana  of  the  Parsis* 
Even  the  divergency  and  antagonism  of  the  religion 
of  Zoroaster  from  that  of  the  Rishis  of  the  Vedas, 
is  in  many  particulars  like  that  which  in  the  coarse 
of  speculation  and  reform  might  easily  appear  among 
a people  originally  associated  together,  but  after- 
wards following  a peculiar  religions  and  social  develop- 
ment. The  word  Deva  (or  Devas),  as  has  often  been 
shown,  musthave  been  a desio-nalion  in  the  original  Ira- 
nian  race  of  any  Divinity  before  even  the  separation  from 
one  another  of  the  peoples  known  as  Greeks  and  Romans 
<in  whose  languages  it  appears  as  0fosand  Deus)  ; and  it 
could  only'  be  the  peculiar  mythological  and  idolatrous 
application  of  the  term  by  the  progenitors  of  the  Indians, 
or  by  the  Indians  themselves,  which  led  the  Zoroastrians 
to  employ  it  as  a designation  of  a Devil.  In  the  \ edas 
the  word  Asura  is  applied  to  the  Sun  and  Fire,  in  the 
sense  probably'  of  Lord  or  Master;  but  the  Brahmans,  as 
if  retaliating  against  the  Zoroastrians,  who  had  applied  it 
to  their  good  God,  in  tlie  form  of  Ah ara- Mazda,  or 
mnltiscient  Lord,  made  it  afterwards  the  designa- 
nation  of  a Devil.t  Even  in  many  of  the  hymns  of 
the  Vedas,  the  terrestrial  enemies  of  the  A ryas,  as  well  as 
iheir  unseen  enemies,  are  denominated  Asiiras,  as  will 
immediately  appear.  In  illustration  of  the  connection 
of  the  Iranians,  and  AVyas,  other  circumstances,  bearing 
especially'-  on  physiognomy',  could,  if  necessary,  be 
brought  forward.  The  great  fact  to  be  borne  in  mind 
is,  that  the  A'rvas  are  first  found  in  India  as  strangers 

* Compare  Aitareya  Biahmana,  vii.  4.  19,  with  Vandidad,  farg.  xiv. 

j See  Note  iu  India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  78. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS  AND  IRANIANS.  9-’> 


and  foreigners  not  fully  established  in  the  land,  as  will 
still  more  appear  from  passages  now  immediately  to  be 
adduced  from  the  Rig-Veda. 

In  the  Rig-Veda,  as  might  l)e  expected  from  the  fact 
that  it  consists  of  laudations  and  sacrificial  songs  of  the 
Gods,  no  formal  and  direct  information  on  the  early  social 
state  of  the  Aryan  community  is  to  be  expected.  It  is 
only  from  poetical  and  historical  allusions  there  occur- 
ring that  anything  can  be  learned  respecting  the 
society  of  their  own  day  or  of  more  ancient  times.  These 
allusions,  however,  are  pretty  numerous,  and  when  com- 
pared together  productive  of  curious  and  valuable  results. 
In  collecting  the  information  to  be  found  in  the  Veda 
bearing  on  the  origin  and  growth  of  Caste,  it  is  necessary 
to  look  to  the  A ryan  community  in  two  distinct  aspects, 
— that  which  respects  its  connection  with  the  exterior, 
partly  amalgamated,  or  hostile,  tribes  with  which  it  came 
in  contact,  and  that  which  respects  its  own  social  condition 
and  development. 

The  A ryas,  we  find  from  the  Rig-Veda,  though  in 
some  respects  an  interesting  people,  and  considerably  ad- 
vanced in  civilization,*  had  the  pride  of  race  in  an  ex- 
travagant degree.  They  were  an  aspiring,  a domi- 
neeiing,  and  an  intolerant  people,  with  strong  antipathies 
of  race  andreligion,and  showing  great  contempt  and  hatred 
of  the  other  tribes  with  whom  they  came  in  contact.  As 
this  pride  of  race,  violence,  and  intolerance  were  special 
features  of  Caste  when  formally  established,  it  may  be  well 
for  us  to  collect  the  piincipal  notices  which  we  have  of 
their  earliest  manifestations  in  the  Veda  now  mentioned. 

“ Discriminate  0 Indra  between  the  A'ryas,  and  those  who  are 

* See  India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  pp.  29-34. 


94 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Dasyus : piini.sliing  those  who  perform  no  religious  rites  (avritan), 
compel  them  to  submit  to  the  sacrifices  ; be  thou  the  powerful, 
the  encourager  of  the  sacrificer.”  ( Rig- Veda,  ash  t l.adh.  4.  varga  11.) 

“ Munificent  hero  (Indra),  who  easily  conquerest  thy  foes,  thou 
didst  put  to  flight  (under  Kutsa)  the  Dasyus  in  battle.”  (Ib.  i.  5.  4.) 

“ Indra,  the  invoked  by  many,  attended  by  the  moving  Maruts, 
having  attacked  the  Dasyus  and  the  Shiinyus,  slew  them  with  his 
thunderbolt  ; the  thuiiderer  then  divided  the  fields  with  his  white 
complexioned  friends.”  (Ib.  1.  7.  11.)* 

“ (We  invoke  Indra)  who  is  the  lord  of  all  moving  and  breathing 
creatures,  who  first  recovered  the  kine  for  the  Brahman,  (the  repeater 
of  the  Brahma  or  wordf),  and  who  slew  the  humbled  Dasyus."  (i.  7.12  ) 

“ Armed  with  the  thunderbolt,  and  confident  in  his  strength,  he 
(Indra)  has  gone  on  destroying  the  cities  of  the  Ddsas.  O Indra,  the 
wise,  the  thunderef,  cast  thy  shaft  against  the  Dasyu,  and  augment 
the  strength  and  glory  of  the  A'rya."  (i.  7.  16.) 

“ Sweeping  away  the  Dasyu  with  the  thunderbolt,  you  Ashw'ius 
have  bestowed  brilliant  light  upon  the  Ary  a."  (i.  8.  17.) 

“ Indra,  who  in  a hundred  ways  is  the  protector  in  battles,  in  heaven 
conferring  battles,  has  preserved  in  the  fray  the  sacrificing 
A'rya.  Punishing  the  destitute  of  rites  he  subjected  the  black  skin 
to  Manu  (the  A ryan  or  privileged  man.)  (ii.  1.  19.) 

“ Destroy,  Indra,  the  tawny-coloured,  fearfully  roaring  Pishdchi  ; 
annihilate  all  the  Rakshasas."  (ii.  1.  22.)l 

“ Indra,  lord  of  steeds,  invigorated  by  our  animating  praise,  thou 
hast  slain  those  wdio  make  thee  no  offerings,  and  disturb  thy  worship- 
pers.” fii.  4.  17. ID 

“ Consume,  mighty  one,  the  irreligious  Dasyu,  as  a wooden  vessel 
is  burnt  by  fire.”  (ii.  4.  18.)  ’Thou  hast  disclosed  light  to  the  A'rya: 

* The  translation  of  this  verse  here  given  is  that  of  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson,  which 
I think  substaiitiallj  correct,  as  Shinty  it  (whicli  m.ay  be  translated  “destroyer"’,  as  alter- 
natively in  Muir’s  Sanscrit  Texts,  vol.  ii.  pp.  384),  is  evidently  coupled  in  the  Veda,  with 
Da.iyus,  used  in  a personal  sense. 

f Sdyana  A'charya  (Muller’s  Text  of  Rig-Veda,  i.  p.  807  applies  Brahmana,  here 
used,  to  the  “ Brdhmanajdti  or  Brahman  Caste.  But  this  is  going  too  far,  on  modern 
Brahmanical  principles. 

J Here  both  Piskdchis  and  Rakshasas  ( soon  viewed  by  the  Hindus  as  devils)  are 
seemingly  spoken  of  as  a people. 

II  Wilson’s  R.  V.  ii.  p.  168. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  A'RYAS  AND  DASYUS.  95 


the  Dasyu  has  been  placed  at  thy  left  hand.  Let  us  honour  those 
who,  through  thy  protection,  surpass  all  their  rivals,  as  the  Dasyus 
are  surpassed  by  the  A'ryas."  (ii.  6.  6.) 

“ Encountering  the  ('Asums^,  carrying  off  Dabhiti,  he  burnt  all 
their  weapons  in  a kindled  fire,  and  enriched  (the  prince)  with  their 
cattle,  their  horses,  and  their  chariots.”  (ii.  6.  15.)  “ Thou  hast 

slain  the  Dasyus,  Chuinuri  and  Dhuni,  having  cast  them  into  .sleep  ; 
thou  hast  protected  Dabhiti.”  (ii.  6.  16.) 

“ He  (Indra)  slew  the  Dasyus,  and  destroyed  their  iron  cities,  (ii. 
6.  26.1 

“ Pluck  up  the  Dakshas,  Indra,  by  the  root  ; cut  asunder  the 
middle,  blight  the  summit  : to  whatever  remote  regions  thou  hast 
driven  the  sinner,  cast  upon  the  hater  of  the  (ceremonial)  word 
(brahma)  thy  consuming  weapon,  (iii.  2.  4.) 

“ Having  slain  the  Dasyus,  he  protected  the  A rya  colour  (or  race, 
varna)  (iii.  11.  17.)* 

“ What  do  the  cattle  for  thee  among  the  Kikatas ; they  yield  no 
milk  for  the  offerings  to  Soma  ; and  they  heat  no  fire  (for  the 
sacrifice) ; bring  (also)  the  wealth  of  Pramagandha  (the  usurer  ?) 
and  subdue  to  us,  Maghavat  (Indra),  the  vile  branch  (or  stock)  of 
the  people”  (naichdshdkam).( 

“ Defending  him  (a  poet,  kavi,)  with  thy  protection,  the  guileful, 
impious  ( Mdydvanbrahma,  (mad  against  the  Brahma)  Dasyu  has  been 
destroyed  in  the  contest  for  the  spoil.  With  a mind  resolved  on 

killing  the  Dasyu  thou  comest thou  hast  swiftly  destroyed  the 

Dasyus.  (iii.  5.  18  ) 

“ Indra,  0 Soma,  has  slain  the  Dasyns  in  battle  : Agni  has  con- 
sumed them  before  the  noon.”  (iii.  6.  17.) 

Tra.sadasyu|  has  bestowed  upon  many  the  ancient  (gifts)  which 
Avere  obtained  by  the  liberal  (prince)  through  your  (favoiu-  Heaven 

• See  p.  13. 

t On  this  import.mt  passage  Prof.  H.  H.  Wilson  (R.  V.  iii.,  p.  86)  has  the  follow- 
ing note  : — The  Kikatas  are  said  by  Sayana,  following  Ydska,  Nir.  vi.  32,  to  be  countries 
inhabited  by  Andryas,  people  who  do  not  perform  worship,  who  are  infidels,  Ndstikas 
[rather  non- Aryans]  : Kikata  is  usually  identified  with  South  Behar,  showing,  appa- 
rently, that  Vaidik  Hinduism  had  not  reached  the  province  when  this  was  said  ; or  as 
Kfkata  was  the  fountain  head  of  Buddhism,  it  might  be  asserted  that  the  Buddhists 
were  here  alluded  to,  if  it  were  not  wholly  incompatible  with  all  received  notions  ot 
the  earlier  date  of  the  Vedas.”  Kikata  I think,  must  have  been  nearer  to  the  earlier 


96 


■\VHAT  CASTE  IS. 


and  Earth)  ; you  too  have  given  a horse,  a son,  a weapon,  (for  the 
destruction  of  the  Dasyus,  fierce,  and  foe-subduing.”  (iii.  7-  11.) 

“ Twofold  is  my  empire  [says  the  King  Trasadasyu,  so  called  from 
harassing  the  Dasyus]  : — that  of  all  the  Kshatriya  people,  and  all  the 
immortals  are  ours  ; the  gods  associate  me  with  the  works  of  Varuna. 
I rule  over  those  of  the  human  form.”  (iii.  7.17.) 

“ With  the  thunderbolt  thou  hast  confounded  the  voiceless  (or 
noseless)  Dasyus,  thou  hast  bestowed  in  battle  the  speech-bereft  foes, 
(iv.  1 24.)* 

“ Indra,  the  subduer  of  all,  the  Arya  (or  Lord)  leads  the  Ddsa. 
according  to  his  wish.”  (iv.  2 4.)f 

“ Thou  (Indra)  art  he  who  hast  quickly  subdued  the  Dasyus  : 
thou  art  the  chief  one  who  hast  given  preservation  to  the  A'rya."  (iv. 
6.  4.) 

“ Make  hot  the  heavens,  earth,  and  firmament,  for  the  oppressive 
race : parent-of-showers,  consume  them  everywhere  with  thy 

radiance,  make  the  heaven  and  the  firmament  too  hot  for  the  haters- 
of-the-Brahma.  Thou  hast  rendered  human  enemies  whether  Ddsas 
or  Aryas  easy  to  be  overcome.”  (iv.  6.  4 |) 

“ Glorified  by  us,  he  (Indra)  bows  not  down  to  the  robust  nor  to 
the  firm,  nor  to  the  persevering  (worshipper)  who  is  instigated  by 

the  Dasyus Overthrow,  on  the  part  of  the  A'rya,  all  the  Ddsa 

races  everywhere  abiding.”  (iv.  6.  18-19.) 

“ Thou  hast  destroyed  the  hundred  impregnable  cities  of  the 
Dasyu  Shambara.”  (iv.  7-3.)§ 

seats  of  the  Aryas  than  South  Behar.  M.  Vivien  de  Saint-Martin  (Mviir’s  Texts  ii. 
xxii.)  thinks  that  the  country  of  the  Kikatas  must  probably’  have  been  in  Koshala  or 
Andh.  In  rendering  the  above  verse,  we  have  compared  the  versions  of  Prof.  H.  H. 
Wilson  and  Mr.  Muir  with  the  original. 

* ‘‘  Andso  dasyun  amrinah.  Andsa,  Sdyana  says,  means  dsyarahitdn,  devoid  or 
deprived  of  words,  dsya,  face  or  mouth,  being  put  by  metonymy  for  shabda,  the  sound 
that  comes  from  the  mouth,  articulate  speech,  alluding  possibly  to  the  uncultivated 
dialetts  of  the  barbarous  tribes.. . .Prof.  Miiller  (Unit ersal  History  of  Man,  i.  346)  re- 
ferring to  this  text  proposes  to  separate  anasd  into  a,  non,  nasd,  the  nose,  noseless. 
Wilson’s  R.V.  iii.  p 276. 

t TWrr  PTiirTTr  q->ir  T5T  WT  TlHiini:  || 

SIHIT  qrifq-irrT  S’rTTr  sifircyr 

§ “ Shambara  is  more  usually  styled  an  Asura,  and  hence  it  would  appe.ar  that  Dnsyn 
and  Asura  are  .synonimons.''  Prof.  H.H.  Wilson  It.  V.  iii.  p.  444. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-TIIE  A'RYAS  AND  DAS  YUS.  97 


“ Agni  has  dispersed  the  impious,  the  chattering,  faithless,  riteless, 
non-Si\ci'ificing  Panis,  the  Dasyus."  (v.  2.  9.) 

“ Thou  hast,  for  the  sake  of  Dabhiti,  vanquished  the  Dasyus 
Chumuri  and  Dhuni.”  (v.  2.  29.) 

“ Put  an  end  to  the  enmity  which  divides  the  Dasyus  and  the 
Aryas."  (v.  6.4.) 

“ Indra  and  Soma  burn  the  Rakshas,  destroy  them,  throw  them 
down,  ye  two  Bulls,  the  people  that  grow  in  darkness.  Hew  down 
the  mad  men,  suffocate  them,  kill  them,  hurl  them  away,  and  slay 
the  voracious.  Indra  and  Soma,  up  together  against  the  cursing 
demon  ! may  he  burn  and  hiss  like  an  oblation  in  the  fire  ! Put  your 
everlasting  hatred  on  the  villain,  who  hates  the  Brahman  [or  rather 
hrahna,  etc.],  who  eats  flesh  (raw),  and  whose  look  is  abominable.”* 
(v.  7.  5.) 

“ Favour  the  prayer  (Brahma),  favorrr  the  service  ; kill  the 
Eakshasas  ; drive  away  the  evil.”  (vi.  3.  16.) 

“ Thou,  Indra,  favourest  our  rites  ; thou  satisfiest  (by  retribution) 
thy  revilers  ; thou  most  excellent  and  powerful  hero,  hast  smitten  the 
Ddsa  in  the  middle  of  his  thigh.  Let  Parvata,  our  friend  Parvata, 
with  a powerful  stroke,  strike  down  from  the  height  the  riteless,  in- 
human, non-sacrificing,  godless  Dasyu."  (vi.  5.  9-10.) 

“ Thou,  Indra,  art  the  friend  of  the  offering,  the  Lord  of  heaven  ; 
thou  overturnest  the  stable  cities  ; thou  destroyest  the  Dasyu,  and 
givest  increase  to  Manu,  thou  Lord  of  heaven.”  (vi.  7.  1.) 

“ O Indra,  object  of  our  praises,  let  the  godless  (adeva),  whether 
he  be  an  A'rya\  or  a Dasyu,  who  wages  war  against  us,  be  vanquished 
by  us.”  (vii.  8.  14.) 

“ Thou  hast  for  the  sake  of  the  Aryas  vanquished  the  Dasyus. 
(viii.  2.  19.) 

“ I,  Indra,  come  recognizing  and  marking  the  distinction  of  the 
Dasyu  and  the  Arya.  (viii.  4.  4.) 

“ This  person  humbled  and  subdued  the  roaring  Ddsa  (hei'e  viewed 
as  an  aerial  monster)  with  six  eyes  and  three  heads.”  (viii.  5.  14.)J 

• In  this  passage  the  spirited  translation  of  Dr.  Max  MUller  (Last  Results  of  the 
Turanian  Researches,  p.  344)  has  been  adopted.  A closer  translaiion  of  the  same  import 
is,  with  the  original,  given  by  Dr.  John  -Muir  (Sanskrit  Texts,  ii.  406  ) 

t In  the  Rig- Veda,  particularly  the  seventh  and  eight  Afhtaks,  A'ryas  hostile  to  the 
Rishi.s  are  mentioned  as  above. 

I Several  other  passages  of  this  character  occur.  See  Muir’s  Texts  ii.  403, 

13 


08 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  A'rija  has  been  able  to  measure  himself  with  the  Dasyu. 
Indra,  the  ally  of  Rijishvan,  has  destroyed  the  villages  of  Pipra,  the 
magical  (Mayina)  Asura,  (viii.  7.  26.) 

These  passages,  and  others  of  a like  nature  which 
could  be  adduced,  not  only  bring  to  notice,  in  the 
neiglibourhood  of  the  early  Indian  settlements  of  the 
Aryas,  the  existence  of  races  different  in  colour,  creed, 
and  customs  from  tliese  AVyas,  but  reveal  the  deep- 
seated  hatred  and  contempt  of  these  races  by  the  A ryas, 
who  deliglited  to  wage  war  against  them  on  religious 
grounds,  rejoiced  in  their  conquest  and  overthrow,  and 
even  applied,  in  the  progress  of  time,  their  names  and 
designations  to  the  imaginary  aerial  and  spiritual  beings 
which,  in  their  superstitious  imaginings,  they  believed  to 
be  in  a constant  state  of  hostility  to  their  own  persons 
and  social  and  religious  institutions.  The  violent  anti- 
patliy  and  hate  of  race  and  religion,  thus  early  manifest- 
ed, liave  continued  to  be  among  the  most  potent  and 
injurious  elements  of  Caste  to  the  present  day.  The 
ATyas,  and  the  tribes  taken  by  them  into  alliance,  have 
ever  nourished  and  cherished  them,  particularly  as  applied 
to  the  lower  tribes  of  the  country,  in  the  different  pro- 
vinces of  India  in  Avhich  they  have  been  established, 

It  will  have  been  noticed  that  the  prevailing  epithet 
of  the  people,  or  peoples,  to  whom  in  the  preceding  ex- 
tracts the  A'ryas  are  represented  as  opposed,  is  that  of 
Dasyu-  We  have  already  mentioned  Avhat  w’^e  consider 
the  original  meanino-  of  the  denomination — Gentes,  those 
of  the  country,*  or  Aborigines  or  Natives-  The  Iranian 
correspondents  of  the  name  warrant  us  to  attach  to 
it  this  meaning.  With  reference  to  its  peculiar  implica- 
* See  above,  p.  88. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE—  THE  A’llYAS  AND  DASYUS.  00 


tions,  however,  Dr.  Max  Miiller  says,  Dasyu  in  the 
Veda  is  enemy''*  The  Brahmans,  to  the  present  day, 
marking'  their  traditional  animus,  make  it  the  equivalent 
of  slave  and  robber- 

llas/ihasa,  it  will  also  have  been  seen,  is  another  de- 
nomination given  to  the  tribes  to  whom  the  AVyas 
placed  themselv'es  in  hostility.  Etjnnologically  it  means 
the  “ strong,'’  the  “ powerful,”  the  “ protecting,”  the 
“ gigantic.”  As  applied  to  an  aboriginal  people,  it  is 
used  in  the  Veda  very  much  as  the  word  Repliaim  is  used 
in  the  Hebrew  scriptures.  By  the  Aryas  it  soon  had  a 
purely  mythological  meaning  attached  to  it,  characteris- 
tic of  both  terrestrial  and  aerial  “ monsters.”  In  the 
ShaVpatha  Brahmana  of  the  White  Yajur  Veda  the 
Rakshasas  are  represented  as  “ prohibiters,”  that  is 
“ prohibiters  of  sacrifice. ”f 

Asitra  is  another  denomination  given  by  the  A'ryas  to 
their  enemies.  It  is  somewhat  difficult  to  ascertain  its 
import.  We  have  already  found  it  used  as  a designa- 
tion of  the  Sun,  probably  in  the  sense  of  Lord  or  Mas- 
ter, its  root  being  possibly  as,  to  be.  Perhaps,  like  the 
word  NayoJt  (dux)  in  modern  times,  it  was  in  this 
sense  applied  to  the  aboriginal  tribes  on  account  of  the 
number  of  their  heads  of  clans.  J With  the  Aryas,  how- 

* Comparative  IMytliology  in  Oxford  Essays,  1856  p.  24.  Dr.  M. 
■with  the  Persian  equivalents  in  his  eye  says,  “ It  is  hardly  doubtful 
that  the  Greek  ha-izaT-ns  represents  a Sanskrit  title  ddsa-pati,  lord  of 
nations.” 

f See  Weber  in  Z.  D.  M.  G.  iii.  289,  sq. 

X The  word  Ndk,  the  contraction  of  Ndyalz,  is  the  common  epithet 
(of  respect)  used  by  the  lowly  Mahars  of  the  Maratlul  country. 
From  the  abundance  of  Ndhs  connected  with  the  Bhills  of  the  Baida 
jungles,  east  of  Baroda,  they  are  called  Ndlcadas. 


100 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ever,  the  Asuras  were  soon  viewed  as  wicked,  malicious 
spirits,  as  opposed  to  the  Suras,  or  deities. 

From  the  references  which  are  made  in  the  Vedas  to 
the  power,  resources,  appliances,  and  residences  of  the 
Dasyiis,  it  is  manifest  tliat  they  were  found  in  no 
contemptible  position  by  the  A’ryas  when  they  entered 
India.  The  subjection  of  them  by  the  A'ryas  required 
time  and  strength  for  its  accomplishment. 

The  state  of  society  among  the  A'ryas  themselves  now 
requires  our  particular  attention.  In  connexion  with 
them  such  questions  as  the  following  occur  : — Do  the 
symptoms  of  Caste,  or  of  tendencies  to  Caste,  appear  in 
the  A'ryan  community  as  it  is  first  brought  to  notice  in 
the  Vedas  ? Were  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas, 
Shudras,  and  Sankaras  then  found  to  exist  ? Was  a 
diverse  creation, — from  the  head,  arms,  thighs,  and  feet 
of  the  godhead  respectively, — then  ascribed  to  the  first 
four  of  these  classes  ? Had  they  a monopoly  of  their 
occupations  and  privileges,  founded  on  creation,  birth, 
or  descent  ? Could  there  be  no  interchange  of  classes 
among  them  ? Were  their  respective  duties  prescribed 
to  them  by  alleged  special  divine  regulations  I Did 
legislative  impedimenJ-s,  with  religious  sanctions,  exist 
as  to  their  intercommunion  and  marriage  ? Did  cere- 
monial defilement  follow  the  accidental  or  deliberate 
touch  of  any  classes  of  people  with  whom  they  came  in 
contact  ? Were  there  any  practices,  or  pretensions,  of 
parties  among  them  which  had  the  tendency  to  originate 
Caste  \ 

The  following  observations,  which  are  merely  an  ex- 
pansion of  what  we  have  said  on  this  subject  in  a late 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE—TIIE  EARLY  PRIESTHOOD.  101 


small  publication,  will  assist  us  iii  answering  these  in- 
quiries. 

( 1 .)  The  position  and  authority  of  the  A/ryan  priesthood 
as  presented  to  our  view  in  the  Chhandas  portions  of  the 
Vedas  have  comparatively  speaking,  hut  a very  limited 
advancement  and  development.  The  word  Brahman  does 
not  appear  in  the  Hymns  as  a fully  established  generic  desig- 
nation of  a priest,  or  of  a party  belonging  to  an  established 
priesthood.  It  thus  originated.  The  word  brahma  (from  the 
root  hrih  (hr  vrih)  to  utter,  to  speak/ to  make  a noise,) 
means  prayer  ; and  it  is  applied, — as  in  several  instances 
now  quoted  m connexion  with  the  Ahyas  and  Dasyus, — to 
the  ceremonial  prayers  of  the  A ryas,  neglected  or  opposed 
by  the  Dasyus.*  In  consequence,  the  word  Brahman  or 
Brahma  in  the  masculine,  came  to  mean  the  utterer,  or 
conductor  of  prayer.f  The  Brahmans,  it  cannot  he  doubted," 
are  represented  in  the  Vedas  merely  as  a profession,  and 
not  as  a caste.  Not  a word  is  said  in  these  writings  about 
their  origin  as  (hverse  frcm  that  of  other  members  of  the 
human  family.  They  ask  no  privileges  on  account  of  ori- 
gmal  dignity  or  status.  They  are  in  the  Vedas  principally 
a class  of  priests,  officiating  at  sacrifices  and  other  reli- 
gious services,  along  with  other  specified  classes  of  priests. 
The  following  are  instances  of  the  ways  in  which  they 
are  there  brought  to  notice.  “ The  chanters  chant  thee, 
Shataki-atu  [a  name  of  Indra],  the  reciters  of  the  Richas 

* Thus  we  have,  above,  the  Brahman  (the  repeater  of  the  hrahna 
or  word),  p.  94 ; the  hater  of  the  brahma  (or  word),  p.  95  ; “mad  against 
the  brahma"  (against  the  usage  of  the  word),  p.  95,  etc. 

f See  article  by  Dr.  R.  Roth  on  Brahma  and  the  Brahmans  in 
Z.  D.  M.  G.,  vol.  i.  pp.  66-86,  and  the  Abstract  of  that  article  pub- 
lished in  the  Benares  Magazine  (Oct.  1851),  by  Dr.  J.  Muir. 


102 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


praise  thee,  wlio  are  Avorthy  of  praise ; the  Brahmanas 
raise  thee  aloft  like  a hamhoo  pole.”*  “ Thine,  Agni, 
is  the  office  of  the  Hofri,  of  the  Potri,  of  the  Pilvlj,  of 
the  Neshtri  ; thou  art  the  Agnklhra  of  the  devout, 
thiiie  is  the  function  of  the  Prashastri  ; thou  art  the 
Adhvanjii  and  the  Brahma'  ; and  the  householder  m 
oiu’  dAA'elling.”f  Here  are  eight  kinds  of  priests  men- 
tioned, of  whom  the  Brahma  or  Brahraana  is  the  last. 
Even  in  the  highest  sense  of  the  Vedas  the  word  BraJi- 
man  is  used  merely  in  a simple  official  sense,  and  applied 
to  an  active  class  in  the  community,  as  when  the  Brahman 
is  mentioned  along  Avith  the  Rdjanya,  or  prince. J 
It  was  ill  times  later  than  those  of  the  oldest  por- 
tions of  the  Vedas  that  the  AAord  Brahma  or  Brahmana 
came  to  to  he  used  in  the  exclusiA  e sense  of  god-horn 
priest.  It  is  not  difficult,  indeed,  as  aaiII  he  aftervnrds 
seen,  to  trace  the  progress  of  the  Brahman  from  his  Vedic 
profession  to  his  suhseqiient  position  as  maintained  by 
Caste.  From  his  peculiar  position  at  sacrifices,  he  was 
often  their  conductor, — the  pnrohila,  or  foreman, — ^for  tliis. 
is  the  literal  ineaning  of  the  Avord.  This  honour  he 
shared  only  with  others  in  the  first  instance,  many  of 
whom,  as  Vishvaniitra  and  his  school,  belonged  to  the 
royal  race.  Agni,  ihe  god  of  fire,  the  deA'ourer,  or  re- 

* See  Text  in  Muller’s  Eig-Veda,  vol.  i.  p.  127.  Professor  Wilson 
(Pig-Veda,  vol.  i,  p.  24)  reads  Braliinanas.  In  the  original  here,  the 
Avord  is  Brahmanah,  the  plural  of  Brahma. 

f Wilson’s  Pig-Veda,  A'ol.  ii.  p.  209,  Avith  the  change  of  Brahma 
for  its  equh'alent  Brahman,  as  in  the  text  (Aluller,  \’ol.  ii.  p.  41G). 
According  to  some  authorities,  altogether  sixteen  kinds  of  priests 
shai'ed  in  the  offerings  on  great  occasions.  See  note  in  Wilson,  ut 
sup.,  AA'here  the  authorities  are  quoted  and  illustrated. 

J Pig- Veda,  i.  7.  27. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE  -THE  RISIIIS. 


103 


ceiver  of  sacrifices,  was  the  of  tlie  gods  in  the 

skv*  ; and  it  was  meritorious  for  kings  to  have  a Brahma 
or  BraJimana  as  his  correspondent  on  earth.  1'he  office 
of  the  Puroliita  and  Bi  ahnia  gradually  became  hereditary ; 
and  the  Brahma,  as  attached  to  the  houses  of  the  great, 
became  of  growing  consequence,  especially  in  connexion 
with  the  anointing  of  kings  and  their  horse-sacrifices,  on 
which  they  counted  much  for  conquest  and  progeny.  His 
study  and  learning  gradually  increased  his  influence ; and 
he  was  constituted  an  adviser  and  counsellor.  His  sup- 
posed peculiar’  access  to  the  gods  gave  him  a peculiar 
sanctity.  He  became  a legislator  ; and  in  this  capacity 
he  soon  made  himself  a god-npon-eartli.  Such  an  exal- 
tation of  a human  mediator  has  often,  to  a certain  extent, 
been  witnessed  in  other  countries  besides  India. 

(2.)  The  writers  of  the  Vedas,  who  are  denominated 
Bhhis,  or  seers  or  inditers,  and  who  were  doubtless  in  a 
religious  point  of  view  the  highest  parties  in  the  Aryan 
commimity,f  call  for  support  and  countenance  on 
account  of  their  occupation  and  doings,  without  refer- 
ence to  any  order  in  societ}"  enjoyed  by  them.J  Though 

* Rig-Veda  i.  1.  I.  et  in  mult.  loc. 

f The  phrase,  “ As  the  Rishi  among  the  Vipras”  (rendered,  in  the 
genitive  plural,  by  “ the  intelligent,”  by  the  commentator 

Madhavacharya)  occurs  in  the  Sama  Veda.  Author’s  MS.  of  Ma- 
dhava’s  commentary,  part  2nd.  fol.  38.  Vipra  is  now  a synonym  of 
Briihman.  It  is  rendered  by  “ intelligent,”  in  the  commen- 

tary on  the  Rig  by  Say  ana. 

J “ For  the  donors  of  (pious)  gifts,”  they  sung,  “ the  suns  shine  in 
heaven”  (Wilson’s  E.  V.  ii.  17)  ; “ the  givers  of  pious  donations  attain 
immortality  ; the  givers  of  (pious)  gifts  prolong  theii'  (worldly)  exist- 
ence.” They  blamed  some  chiefs  for  annoying  them,  Avithout  claiming 
any  established  status  (ib.  ii.  6). 


104 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


these  occupations  may  have  been  in  some  cases  here- 
ditary, in  consequence  of  the  establishment  of  schools 
or  classes  for  committing'  the  A ryan  Hymns  to  memory, 
they  were  not  confined  to  one  class  of  the  Indian 
people.  They  were  at  least  from  both  the  kingly 
and  the  priestly  classes  of  the  population.  Vishva- 
mitra,  to  whom  many  of  the  Hymns  of  the  Vedas 
are  ascribed,*  and  wlio  in  the  Vishnu  Purana, — 
one  of  the  most  important  legendary  and  traditional 
treatises  of  the  Hindus, — is  represented  as  one  of  the 
seven  original  Rishis  of  the  present  system  of  things,')' 
was,  as  is  admitted  b}'^  all  kinds  of  Hindu  authorities, 
originally  a Majarshi,  or  a rishi  from  the  rajas,  though 
said  to  be  elevated  to  tlie  Brahviarshi,  or  Brahman 
grade  of  risliis,  for  his  talents,  acquirements,  and  observ- 
ances. Jamadagni,  who  is  mentioned  also  in  the  Veda 
as  a Rishi,  j; — and  who,  in  the  later  Hindu  legends,  is 

* E.  g.,  Elg-Veda,  Muller,  ii.  p.  932,  et.  seq. 

f Vasislitha,  Kashyapa,  Atri,  Jamadagni,  Gautama,  Vishvamitra, 
and  Bharadvaja  are  the  seven  Rishis,  according  to  Wilson’s  Vishnu 
Purana,  p.  264.  Other  lists  of  the  great  rishis,  are  given  with 
variations  in  Manu,  and  the  Puranas,  etc.  For  the  age  of  the 
Puranas, — which  are  all  posterior  to  the  revival  of  Brahmanism  after 
the  destruction  of  Buddhism, — see  Appendix  to  the  Notes  of  Colonel 
Sykes  on  Ancient  India. 

J “ Vishvamitra  is  a remarkable  person  in  the  traditions  of  the 
Hindu  religion  : according  to  the  historical  and  Paurdnik  authori- 
ties, he  was  originally  a member  of  the  Kshatriya,  or  royal  and  mili- 
tary caste,  and  himself  for  some  time  a monarch  : he  was  descended 
from  Kuslia,  of  the  lunar  race,  and  was  the  ancestor  of  many  royal 
and  saintly  personages,  who,  with  himself  were  called  after  their  com- 
mon ancestor,  Kushikas  or  Kaushikas  : by  the  force  of  his  austerities 
[sic  scribunt  Brachmanes],  he  compelled  Brahma  to  admit  him  into 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE  -THE  RISIIIS. 


105 


the  father  of  the  reputed  Avatara  Parashurama,  is  repre- 
sented as  the  nephew  of  Vishvamitra.  From  both 
Vishvamitra  and  Jamadagni,  numerous  tribes  of  Brah- 
mans of  mixed  blood,  according  to  the  legends,  claim 
descent.  Many  of  the  Vedic  hymns  are  by  authors 
said  to  be  either  of  the  princely  class,  or  to  have  been 
raised  from  it  to  the  priestly  class.* 

the  Brahmanical  order,  into  which  he  sought  admission  in  order  to 
be  placed  upon  a level  with  Vasishtha,  with  whom  he  had  quarelled  : 
his  descent,  and  the  circumstances  of  his  dispute  with  VasishUia, 
are  told,  with  some  variation,  in  the  Edmdijana,  (ch.  li. — Ixv.  Schle- 
gel’s  edition,)  in  the  Mdlidbhdrata,  Vciyu,  Vishnu,  and  Bhdgavata 
and  other  Puranas  : the  details  of  the  Ramayana  are  most  ample  : 
the  texts  of  the  Big-  Veda  intimate  a general  conformity  with  those  of 
the  Pnrdnas  as  to  the  family  designation  of  Vishvdmitra,  and  to  occa- 
sional disagreements  from  Vasishtha,  originating,  apparently,  in  their 
respective  patronage  of  hostile  princes : according,  however,  to  the 
heroic  poems,  the  Puranas,  and  various  poems,  and  plays,  these 
two  saints  were  on  very  amicable  terms  in  their  relations  to  the 
royal  family  of  Ayodhijd,  or  to  king  Dasharatha,  and  his  son  Rdma." 
Wilson’s  Rig-Veda,  ii,  pp.  318-319.  Neither  the  chronology  nor  the 
geography  of  the  authorities  last  mentioned  is  of  much  consequence 
in  reference  to  the  Rishis,  who  are  handed  about  by  the  traditionists 
ad  libitum,  both  in  reference  to  time  and  place. 

* Mr.  Colebrooke,  (As.  Trans,  vol.  viii.  p.  393,)  long  ago,  noticed  the 
authorship  of  certain  hymns  of  the  Eig-Vdda  as  belonging  to  royal 
authors,  such  as  Mandhatrf,  son  of  Yuvanashva;  Shivi,  son  of 
Ushinara;  Vasumanas,  son  of  Rohiddshva;  and  Pratardana,  son  of 
Divodasa.  Other  hymns  of  the  same  Veda  are  attributed  to  several 
of  the  sons  of  Vishvamitra  as  Madhuchhanda,  Rishabha,  and  Renu  ; 
to  Ambarisha;  to  Bharata,  the  father  of  Devashrava;  to  Medhatithi; 
to  Nabhaga;  to  Rahugana;  to  Vatsapriya,  the  son  of  Bhdlandana ; to 
Paiuruva,  of  the  Lunar  race  of  kings;  to  Vena ; to  Sudasa  ; to  Grit- 
samada,  the  son  of  Shunahotra,  but  who  afterwards  became  the  son  of 
Shunaka ; to  Devapi  and  Shantanu ; and  to  other  princely  authors. 
Several  of  the  hymns  of  the  last  Ashtak  of  the  Rig-Veda  are  by 

U 


i06 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(3.)  The  Rjshis  and  priests  received  in  marriage  the 
daughters  of  other  classes  of  the  community.  The 
Brahmans  of  the  present  day  are  well  aware  of  this  fact  • 
but,  in  deference  to  their  later  Shastras,  they  maintain 
that  such  marriages  were  mere  indulgences,  and  con- 
fined to  the  assumption  of  one  wife  of  each  of  the  higher 
classes,  in  addition  to  tliose  of  Brahmanical  rank.  But 
what  will  they  make  of  the  following  story,  related  in 
the  Niti-Manjari,  of  Kakshivat,  the  author  of  several 
Suktas  in  the  Rig- Veda,  whose  mother,  Ushik, — it  is  to 
be  noted, — was  the  reputed  daughter  of  king  Anga’s 
slave  ? “ Kakshivat  having  finished  his  course  of  study, 
and  taken  leave  of  his  preceptor,  Avas  journeying  home- 
ward, Avhen  night  came  on,  and  he  fell  asleep  by  the 
road-side  ; early  in  the  morning  Raja  Svanaya,  the 
son  of  Bhavayavya,  attended  by  his  retinue,  came  to 

Kavasha  Ailusha,  said  to  be  tlie  son  of  a Ddsa,  as  noticed  by  Dr. 
Muller  (History  of  Sanskrit  Literature,  p.  58).  A few  of  the  hymns 
of  the  Rig-Veda  are  even  ascribed  to  females,  real  or  imaginary,  as 
Shachi,  the  daughter  of  Pulomana;  Shraddha,  the  daughter  of  Kama; 
Goriviti,  the  daughter  of  Sakti ; and  Vak,  the  daughter  of  Abhrina. 

On  various  gottras,  or  families,  of  Brahmans  mixed  with,  or 
derived  from,  the  regal  blood,  see  legendary  notices  in  Wilson’s 
Vishnu  Purana,  pp.  369,  405,  448,  457,  454,  etc. 

Dr.  John  Muir,  in  his  “ Original  Sanskrit  Texts,”  vol.  i.  pp.  44-56, 
has  given  a series  of  “ passages  sufficient  to  prove  that  according  to 
the  traditions  received  by  the  compilers  of  the  ancient  legendary  his- 
tory of  India,  (traditions  so  general  and  undisputed  as  to  prevail  over 
even  their  strong  hierarchical  prepossessions,)  Brahmans  and  Ksha- 
triyas  were,  at  least  in  many  cases,  originally  descended  from  one  and 
the  same  stock.”  Some  of  the  cases  referred  to  by  Dr.  Muir  are  the 
same  as  those  of  the  parties  mentioned  in  the  first  paragraph  of  this 
note.  The  historical  inference  ought  not  to  be  pressed  beyond  the 
bounds  indicated  by  Dr.  M. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-TIIE  RISIIIS.  107 

the  spot,  and  disturbed  the  Brahman’s  slumbers  : upon 
his  starting  up  the  Raja  accosted  liim  ^rith  great  cor- 
diality, and  being  struck  by  his  personal  appearance, 
determined,  if  he  was  of  suitable  rank  and  birth,  to  give 
him  his  daughters  in  marriage.  xVftcr  ascertaining  his 
fitness,  he  took  Kakshivat  home  with  him,  and  there 
married  him  to  his  ten  daughters,  presenting  him  at 
the  same  time  with  a hundred  nishkas  of  sold,  a 
hundred  horses,  a hundred  bulls,  one  thousand 
and  sixty  cows,  and  eleven  chariots,  one  for  each  of 
his  wives  and  one  for  himself,  each  drawn  by  four 
horses.”  Kakshivat  himself,  in  the  Yeda,  thus  celebrates 
the  liberality  of  his  father-in-law  ; — “ From  which  ge- 
nerous prince  soliciting  (my  acceptance)  I,  Kakshivat, 
unhesitatingly  accepted  a hundred  nishkas,  a hundred 
vigorous  steeds,  and  a hundred  bulls,  whereby  he  has 
spread  his  imperishable  fame  through  heaven.  Ten 
chariots  drawn  by  bay  steeds,  and  carrying  my  wives, 
stood  near  me  given  by  Svanaya  ; and  a thousand  and 
sixty  cows  followed.  Forty  bay  horses  (harnessed)  to 
the  chariots,  lead  the  procession  in  front  of  a thousand 
followers.  The  Pajras,  the  kinsmen  of  Kakshivat,  rub 
down  the  high-spirited  steeds,  decorated  with  golden 
trappings.”*  It  does  not  appear  that  Kakshivat  had 
any  wives  of  his  own  class.  The  supply  which  he  had 
from  the  chief  was  more  than  sufficient.  Other  instances 
of  Rishis  and  priests  marrying  the  daughters  of  kings 
are  often  alluded  to.f 

* Wilson’s  Rig-Veda,  vol.  ii.  p.  14,  17-18. 

f As  those  of  Chyavana  with  Siilcanya,  the  daughter  of  Sharjati, 
(Wilson’s  R.  V.  1. 139,  etc.)  and  Jamadagni  with  Renuksi,  the  daugh- 
ter of  Renu. 


108 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(4.)  The  term  .Ks^aOv?/a,  applied  by  tlie  Shastras,  or 
Law  Books,  to  the  second  or  warrior  class  in  the 
Hindu  community,  is  used  in  the  Vedas  only  as  a de- 
nominative of  a party  possessed  of  Jcshatra,  or  power.  In 
this  sense  it  is  applied  to  the  gods,  as  to  Indra  and 
Varuna,  and  Mitra  and  ^ aruna,*  In  tlie  Vedas,  the 
word  Kshetrapati,  the  “ owner  of  a field,”  is  the  name 
of  a person  possessed  of  landed  property  ; and  the 
name  Kshatrapati,  “ the  possessor  of  power,”  seems  to 
liave  been  applicable  to  an}'^  party  exercising  authority 
of  any  kind  or  extent.  Kshntriya  is  the  equivalent  of 
of  Kshatrapati.  Kshatra  corresponds,  as  noticed  by 
Lassen,  with  the  Zend  kshatra,  which  also  means  im- 
perium,  agreeing  with  the  Greek  Kparng  and  etymolo- 
gically referring  to  the  attribute  of  bodily  strength. 
Synonyms  of  Kshatriya  were  Vishaspati  or  Vis/uhnpati, 
a master  of  the  people  or  village  community  ; Baj,  the 
equivalent  of  the  Latin  Rex,  a king  ; and  Bajanya,  a 
prince,  the  derivative  of  Baj.  The  kings  and  chiefs  of 
the  Ary  as  are  often  praised  by  the  Rishis  in  the  Vedas  ; 
but  not  a word  is  there  uttered  about  their  emanation 
by  birth  from  the  arms  of  the  Godhead-  It  is  a great 
fact,  as  noticed  by  Professor  Wilson  and  others,  that 
“ There  are  [in  the  Vedas]  indications  of  Rajas  hostile  to 

* Even  Sayana  (Muller’s  R.  V.  iii.  p.  498)  views  it,  as  applied  to 
the  la.st  mentioned  gods,  as  the  equivalent  oidhana,  wealth,  and  hala, 
power.  In  the  R.  V.  iii.  7.  17,  Trasadasya,  a royal  sage  who 
identifies  himself  with  the  gods  in  the  fanaticism  of  his  devotion,  says, 
Rii  rrdT  US  3TR=rr  tr^r  “ i fiave  a twofold 

sovereignty,  that  of  all  the  (power),  and  all  the  immortals 

are  ours.”  Prof.  Wilson  gives  “ race”  as  the  supplied  word,  but  this 
seemi  ngly  on  the  authority  of  Sayana. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  KSIIATRIYAS  AND  VAISIIYAS.  109 


the  ritual  who  would  not  therefore  have  belonged  to 
the  recognized  militaiy  order.”*  The  Rajanyas,  as  we 
have  just  seen,  were  sometimes  Rishis  or  seers.  Even  in 
the  times  of  the  ritual  Brahmanas,  to  be  afterwards 
noticed,  they  had  the  privilege  of  conducting  sacrifices 

(5.)  In  the  time  of  tlie  Vedas,  visha  (related  to  vesha, 
a house  or  district  t)  generally  meant  people  in  general 
and  Vaishya,  its  adjective,  was  afterwards  applied  to  a 
householder  or  to  what  belonged  to  an  individual  of  the 
common  people.  The  Latin  vicus  and  the  Greek  o«Koe 
are  the  correspondents  of  vesha.\\  Visha,  if  applied, 
sometimes,  to  the  pastoral,  the  agricultural,  and  the  other 
industrial  classes  of  the  community,  had  reference  only 
to  their  immediate  occupations,  without  giving  them  any 
monopoly  of  these  occupations.  In  an  address  to  the 
Ashvins  in  the  Rig- Veda  from  which  we  have  already 
quoted  a text,  we  find  the  general  interests  of  the  com- 
munity, of  the  worshipper,  or  of  the  institutor  of  the 
sacrifice,  thus  referred  to — “ Favoiu-  the  prayer  (brahma), 
favoiu-  the  service ; kill  the  Rakshasas,  drive  away  the 

* Preface  to  vol.  ii.  of  Rig-Veda,  p.  xv. 

t It  has  this  meaning  in  Zand  also. 

t In  Rig-Veda,  iii.  1.  9,  Agni  is  spoken  of  as  the  preceder  of 
vts/uh?i  mamishndm,  human  beings.  In  iii.  8.  18,  he  is  called  vislidm 
vislipati,  the  lord  of  men. 

II  Visha  ^vas  pointed  out  by  Kuhn  and  Lassen  as  having  this  rela- 
tionship. It  occurs  in  the  names  of  many  of  our  own  towns,  as 
Greemt'ic/i,  'SVoolwicli,  etc.,  as  indicated  by  Dr.  Miiller.  As  noticed 
by  the  antiquarian  historians  now  mentioned,  it  has  been  preserved 
in  the  Lithuanish  loieszpatis,  lord  of  the  manor.  Pati  is  recognizable 
in  the  Greek  ^£(jrsorrif  Dnma,  corresponding  with  the  Latin  damns, 
is  used  in  Sanskrit  for  a single  house  or  home. 


110 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


favour  the  power  (khatra)  and  favour  the  manly- 

sti-eugtli ; favour  the  cow  the  repre.sentative 

of  property)  ; and  favour  the  people  (or  house,  visha)”* 

* This  passage,  which  occurs  in  the  Eig-Veda,  6th.  asht.  3rd.  adh. 
16th.  varg.,  is  a very  important  one.  The  text,  omitting  repetitive 
clauses,  runs  thus  : — fiT  . . 

....  ^^f1r^5=r  r>5rrf.  (Ji.  s.  Rig- 

Veda,  of  B.  B.  Itoyal  Asiatic  Society.)  In  the  Pada,  the  words  are 
separated  thus  I flFf#  I ^ I'rlfM  1 Wq-:  | f#  | radtHT  | I 
sHTlTr:  1 . . . I R5T:  1,  the  word  being  to  be  sup- 

plied after  each  of  the  last  three  words,  according  to  the  system  of  nota- 
tion used.  (Author’s  MS.  of  Pada  of  R.  V.)  Sayana  Acharya,  the 
commentator,  under  the  caste  feeling  of  later  times,  identifies  brahma 
(prayer)  ^vith  Brahnana  (the  man-that-prays,  and  kshatra  (power) 
with  Kshatrii/a,  the  party-exercising-power,  and  dhenu,  the  cow,  and 
visha,  the  people,  with  the  Yaishya,  the  party-belonging-to-the-peo- 
ple.  This  interpretation  is  not  to  be  wondered  at  ; but  it  is  -without 
early  sanction.  The  mantra  referred  to  is  a favourite  one  with  the 
Brahmans;  and,  both  as  in  the  Rig- Veda  and  as  in  an  expanded 
form,  it  is  much  used  in  their  more  solemn  and  secret  services,  and 
this  in  such  a way  as  to  show  that  originally  it  dealt  -with  interests 
and  not  with  castes.  It  occurs  in  this  enlarged  form  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  Taittiriya  Brahmana  of  the  Black  Yajur  Veda  : — 
^ ^ rlFTT  I 1 ^ 

I ^ ^ rlFTT  I ?it  ^ TiFfT  I jTs-|^ 

^ TiFi#  I t i rsFir- 

(Author’s  MS.)  This  may  be  thus  translated  : — “ Maintain  the 
2)rai/er,  m.ake-it-prosperous  to  me  ; maintain  the  power,  make-it- 
prosperous  to  me  ; maintain  the  food,  make-it-prosperous  to  me ; 
maintain  the  milk,  make-it-prosperous  to  me  ; maintain  the  wealth, 
make-it-prosperous  to  me  ; maintain  the  offspring,  make-it-prosperous 
to  me ; maintain  the  herd,  make-it-prosperous  to  me.”  Sayana,  in 
his  commentary  on  this  passage,  identifies  brahma  -with  the  Brahman 
caste,  engaged  for  the  institutor-of-the-sacrifice.  Khatra,  he  makes 
the  authority-of-the-head-of-a-district.  But  the  other  terms  used  he 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE—  THE  SIIUDRAS. 


Ill 


Interests  here  occupy  the  ground  which  in  later  times 
belonged  to  particidar  castes.  The  unity  of  the  whole 
immigrant  race  continued  marked  by  the  patronymic 
name  ATva,  to  which  we  have  often  referred.  The 
Yaishyas,  in  the  times  of  the  Pandavas  of  the  great  War, 
according  to  the  Mahdbharata,  had  considerable  influ- 
ence in  affairs  of  state,  as  exemplified  in  the  cases  of  the 
wise  Yidur  and  Yuyutsu.  It  was  only  by  degrees,  and 
after  the  A'ryas  had  been  settled  in  the  great  plains  of 
India,  that  the  Yaishyas  got  special  charge  of  flocks 
and  herds,  and  agriculture,  and  merchandise  assigned 
to  them,  as  in  the  days  of  Manu ; for  the  time  was,  when 
a cowkeeper  {gopa,  gopala,  gosvdmu)  was  a chieftain  in 
their  community. 

(6.)  The  Shudras,  though  1 rented  by  Manu  and  Hindu 
legislation  in  general,  as  a component  (though  enslaved) 
part  of  the  Indian  community,  not  entitled  to  the  second 
or  sacramental  birth,  are  not  even  once  mentioned  in  the 
olden  parts  of  the  Yedas.  They  are  first  locally  brought  to 
notice,  in  the  Mahabharata,  along  with  the  AhMras, 
dwelling  on  the  banks  of  the  Indus. f The  Abhiras,  are 
recognized  as  in  that  position  by  Ptolemy,  who  denomi- 
nates the  district  in  which  they  were  found  Ahiria\\ 

does  not  venture  to  apply  to  any  other  alleged  castes.  In  the  third 
mantra  of  the  Taittiriya  Brahmana,  the  vital-breath,  sight,  hearing, 
mind,  speech,  etc.,  are  coupled  with  the  supplicatory  verbs,  in  the 
same  way  as  brahma,  and  kshatra,  evidently  showing  that  matters 
pertaining  to  the  institution  of  the  sacrifice  are  referred  to  throughout. 

* This  last  word  is  still  used  as  the  equivalent  of  Master.  It  is 
particularly  applied  to  classes  of  religionists. 

I Mahabharata,  Bhishma  Parva,  305  (Cal.  ed.  ii.  p.  344.) 

:j:  Ptol.  Geo.  lib.  vii.  p.  102.  edit.  Bert. 


112 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


and  their  representatives  are  still  seen  in  the  A'hirs,  a 
class  of  shepherds  and  cultivators  in  Sindh,  Kachh,  and 
Kathiawad.  There  are  distinct  classical  notices  of  the 
Shudras  in  this  very  locality  and  its  neighbourhood. 
“ In  historical  times,”  says  Lassen,  “ their  name  re- 
appears in  that  of  the  town  SuSpoc  oa  the  lower  Indus, 
and,  what  is  especially  worthy  of  notice,  in  that  of  the 
people  SuSpot  among  the  northern  Arachosians.*  Thus 
their  existence  as  a distinct  nation  is  estal)lished  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  Indus,  that  is  to  say,  in  the  region 
in  which,  in  the  oldest  time,  the  Aryan  Indians  dwelt. 
They  [the  Aryans]  probably  conquered  these  earlier 
inhabitants ; and  it  becomes  manifest  from  this  circum- 
stance, that  it  was  from  the  conquest  of  the  other  Abori- 
gines in  the  interior  part  of  the  country,  that  afterwards, 
the  name  [Shudra]  was  extended  to  the  whole  servile 
caste.  This  name  cannot  be  derived  from  the  Sanskrit; 
and  it  is  to  be  presumed  that  the  right  spelling  should 
be  Sudra'\.  If  this  be  correct,  it  must  be  sounded  Hiidra 
in  old  Persian;  and  this  is  confirmed  by  the  statement  of 
Megasthenes,  that  the  Indian  nations  of  the  'Y^paKai  sent 
auxiliaries  to  the  Persians  before  the  time  of  Alexander  ]; 

* Ptol.  vii.  1.  61.  vi.  20.  3.  They  are  also  mentioned  by  Dionys. 
Perieg.  V.  1142,  under  the  name  SxuSfoi,  in  which  passage  other  mis- 
takes occur,  as,  e.  g.,  Ibr  jU-e<T0t  vauoV'Ji  TofjXoi  aySpsfj  S 

e^'Jrercci  txj^KX  FlEUXcevlwv.  jOtsTaTOus  Se  AjwviJffOU  Ge^aTroyreJ  'Tct^yst^iScci 

vfxiouaiy.  X.  T.  X.  must  be  read,  or,  aecording  to  the  variant 

reading,  EvS^oi,  and  TaySaf/Sai. 

f [Yet,  the  Brahmans  connect  the  xvord  Shudra,  with  Shush?’ushd, 
service,  though  they  get  no  real  etymological  help  fi'om  this  coinci- 
dence.] 

t Strabo  xv.  1 6.  p.  687.  By  Steph.  Byz.  'Y5afx*i.  They  are  dis- 
tinct from  the  0|uSfdxai.  called  in  Sanskrit  Ksliudralca.  Indische 
Alterthumskunde,  vol.  i.  p.  799-800. 


OEIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  SHUDllAS. 


113 


The  extension  of  the  name  Shudra  to  the  enslaved  and 
servile  classes  of  the  country  conquered  hy  the  A'ryas, 
ill  contradistinction  to  the  more  independent  and  more 
cordially  hated  tribes,  such  as  the  Chandalas,  Am- 
bashthas,  etc-,  etc-,  must  have  occurred  gradually. 
Some  of  the  Shudras,  and  some  of  the  more  indepen- 
dent tribes  in  the  interior  land,  I am  inclined,  with 
others,  to  think,  may  have  spoken  a dialect  not  very  dis- 
similar to  that  of  the  ATyas,  and  may  have  been  the 
descendants  of  a prior  Aryan  immigration.*  There  seems 
to  have  been  some  hesitation  in  tlie  Aryan  community 
about  the  actual  religious  position  to  be  given  to  the 
Shudras.  In  the  time  of  the  liturgical  Bralimanas  of  the 
Vedas  to  be  afterwards  noticed,  they  were  sometimes  ad- 
mitted to  take  part  in  the  Aryan  sacrifices,  f Not  long 
afterwards,  when  the  conquests  of  the  Aryans  were  greatly 

* Many  of  the  names  of  the  Dasyus  and  other  enemies  of  the 
A'ryas  seem  to  have  an  Aryan  meaning.  There  are  many  words  cur- 
rent in  the  northern  family  of  Indian  languages  which  appear  to  be 
more  cognate  with  the  Sanskrit  than  immediately  derived  from  it. 
This  remark  is  not  intended  to  oppose  the  belief,  also  confirmed  by 
the  state  of  the  Indian  languages,  that  most  of  the  tribes  which  en- 
tered India  before  the  A'ryas  must  have  been  of  Scythian  or  Turanian 
origin.  Of  the  Scythian  immigrations,  two  at  least,  of  extensive 
character,  are  marked  by  the  dififerences  in  the  Scythian  rvords  of  the 
northern  and  southern  families  of  languages. 

f Roth,  in  Zeitschrift  of  the  Germ.  Or.  Soc.  vol.  i.  p.  83,  and  "Weber’s 
translation  of  the  First  Adhyaya  of  the  Shatapatha-Brahmana,  also  in 
that  Journal.  In  this  Brahmana  there  occurs  a remarkable  passage 
respecting  the  call  of  the  sacrificers,  to  this  effect  : — “ If  the  sacrifice!’ 
be  a Brahman,  it  is  said,  EM  Come  ! if  he  is  a Vaishya,  then  it  is 
AgaM,  Come  hither ! with  a Eajabandhu  [a  transposition  of  the 
Vaishya  and  Rajanya  having  occurred]  it  is  Adrava,  Run  hither! 
with  a Shudra  it  is  Adrava,  Run  hither  1” 

15 


114 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


extended,  and  they  formed  a settled  state  of  society  ainonir 
the  affluents  of  the  Yamuna  and  Ganges,  they  were  de- 
graded to  the  humiliating  and  painful  position  which  they 
occupy  in  Maim.*  There  is  no  mention  of  any  Sankara, 
or  Mixed,  Castes  in  the  Vedas. 

(7.)  In  the  time  of  the  Chhandas  of  the  Vedas,  the 
idea  of  the  god  Brahma,  from  whose  liead  and  arms  and 
thighs  and  feet  the  four  original  castes  of  the  Hindus  are 
held  to  liave  been  deriyed,  was  neither  deyeloped  nor 
Ibrmed.  Brahma,  as  a member  of  the  Hindu  Tdad, 
and  as  the  parent  of  the  races  of  man,  is  no  god  Avhat- 
eyer  of  the  Vedas.  Brahma,  in  the  neuter  gender,  in  the 
AYdic  language,  as  already  mentioned,  means  prayer ; 
and  Brahma,  in  the  masculine,  means  “ he-of-prayer.” 
Agni,  the  god  of  fire  and  sacrifice,  is  the  Brahma,  the  god 
of  prayer,  and  the  Vrihaspati,  Brihaspati,  or  Brahmanas- 
pati,  the  lord  of  prayer,  throughout  tlie  Rig- Veda. f 
Thougli  he  is  called  Vishjjati,  Vishdmpati,  and  Mana- 
saspati,  the  lord  of  men  ; Vaishvanara,  the  soyereign  of 
all  beings ; and  Jdtaveclhas  and  Vedhas  Shashvata,  the 
inspector  of  men  and  the  constant  inspector,  as  practically 
useful  to  man  in  his  person  and  social  life,  and  as  the 
constant  consumer  of  sacrifice  and  offerings,  he  is  also 
spoken  of  as  “ the  Son  of  Heayen  and  Earth,”  as  well  as 
their  parent,  and  was  both  a deriyative  god  and  a Creator, 
Avhen  the  early  Suktas  were  composed.  J A desire  to  haye 
a separate  god  for  prayer,  besides  the  gods  of  material 
nature  and  energy  the  ancient  deities  of  the  Vedas,  begins 

* See  above,  pp.  46-50. 

f Dr.  Eoth  thinks  that  all  the  pati  gods  are  the  result  of  reflec- 
tion and  of  later  invention. 

1 Rig- Veda,  3rd.  Asht.  1st.  adh.  s.  19. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE—  THE  GOD  BRAHMA’. 


115 


to  be  a])pareiit  in  these  writings  as  they  advance ; and  for 
this  god,  Agni,  in  his  function  of  Brahma,  was  selected. 
The  Brahmans  ultimately  recognized  Brahma  as  a distinc- 
tive metaphysical  god,  and  introduced  him  to  public  notice; 
but,  however  much  they  themselves  contemplated  him, 
they  did  not  succeed  in  thoroughly  establishing  his  wor- 
ship among  the  Indian  people.  It  is  well  known  that 
there  is  only  a single  temple  dedicated  to  his  honour  in  the 
whole  of  India. To  account  for  his  unpopularity,  it  is 
feigned,  in  tlie  later  Shastras,  that  he  is  labouring  under 
a curse  from  the  god  Shiva,  who  even  went  so  far  as  to 
cut  off  one  of  his  heads  for  his  immorality  !f  Brahma 
(the  divine  thing  Brahma  or  Soul)  is  an  invention  of  the 
ideal  Vedanta,  a system  of  Pantheism  long  posterior  to 
the  Vedas,  and  really  designed  to  supersede  them  under 
the  assumed  name  of  the  “Aim”  or  “ End”  of  the  VMas.J 

(8.)  The  doctrine,  or  incident,  or  system,  of  ceremonial 
defilement  by  touch,  or  by  eating  or  drinking, — by  whicli 
the  existence  ofCaste  is  particularly  marked  in  the  present 
social  and  religious  life  of  the  Hindus, — is  not  recognized 
in  the  V edas  in  a single  instance.  It  is  impossible  that  it 

* Tliis  is  at  the  Pokhar  (FusliJcara)  lake  near  Ajmer.  Tod’s  Raja- 
sthan, vol.  i.  p.  774.  Even  this  temple,  I found  when  visiting  it,  to 
be  under  the  care  of  devotees,  and  not  that  of  the  regular  priesthood. 

f Author’s  First  Exposure  of  Hinduism,  p.  42.  In  the  3rd  aslit. 
8th  adh.  and  10th  varg.  of  the  Rig-Veda,  Agni  is  spoken  of  as  having 
NRr  four  horns.  These  Sayana  erroneously  makes  the  four 
Vedas,  the  collection  of  which  did  not  exist  when  the  Siiktas  were 
composed,  and  Mahidhara,  the  four  officiating  priests  (the  Ilotri,  Udga- 
tri,  Adhvaryu,  and  Brahma)  ; but  M.  Langlois,  with  much  probability, 
makes  them  the  four  sides  of  Agni’s  eastern  fire-pit,  in  which  the  myth 
of  Brahma’s  four  faces  may  have  originated. 

\ This  is  the  etymological  meaning  of  Vedanta,  from  Veda  and  auta. 


116 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


should  uot,  in  some  form  or  other,  have  been  alluded  to  in 
these  productions,  had  it  existed  when  they  were  formed. 

Caste,  in  the  sense  in  which  it  exists  in  the  present  day, 
we  are  more  and  more  persuaded,  was  altogether  unknown 
among  the  ancient  A ryas,  though  doubtless,  like  other 
consociated  peoples,  they  had  varieties  of  rank  and  order 
and  occupation  in  them  community.  A Panchalshiti, 
and  panchajana  (pentad)  are  occasionally  mentioned  in  the 
Vedas*.  Sayana  A'charya  says  these  expressions  refer  to  the 
four  varnas  (colours  or  castes)  and  the  Nishadas  treated  as 
outcasts,  or  to  the  Gaudharvas,  Pitris,  Devas,  Asm-as,  and 
Raksliasas,  as  explained  in  the  Nhukta.  But  Professor 
Lassen  properly  observes  that  neither  of  these  explana- 
tions is  admissible,!  Kshiti,  as  he  remarks,  is  applied  in 
the  Veda  to  men  in  general  and  charshani,  its  s}iionym, 
is  derived  from  7-ish  to  plow.  The  Nishadas  (etymologi- 
cally the  “ settled”  Aborigines,  but  applied  to  races  distinct 
from  the  Aryan)  were  then  unknown.  Even  when  they 
came  into  notice,  they  remained  exterior  to  the  Aryan 
state.  Jana  signifies  a person  ; panchajani,  in  times 
later  than  the  Veda,  an  assembly  of  five  men;  and  pancha- 
janina,  a chief  of  five  men.  “ It  is  probable,”  Lassen 
adds,  “ that  the  oldest  social  communities  consisted  only 
of  five  families.”  That  Panchakshiti  and  panchajana 
signify  an  aggregate  of  fi^  e men,  is  evident ; but  what  the 
members  of  the  aggregation  were,  it  is  now  almost  impos- 
sible to  declare  with  certainty.  Megasthenes  .speaks  of 
various  municipal  and  mihtary  Pentads  as  existing  among 
the  Indians  in  his  day.  f Many  aggregations  of  five  per- 
* R.  V.  iv.  2.  5. 

Indische  Altherthumskunde,  vol.  i.  p.  796. 

:j:  Megasthenes  in  Coiy’s  Ancient  Fragments,  p.  220,  et.  seq. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE  -THE  PANCHAKSIIITI.  117 


sons  or  parties  are  at  present  recognized  by  the  Hindus.* 

In  virtue  of  the  remarks  which  we  have  now  made, 
and  proofs  and  illustrations  which  we  have  now  brought 
forward,  we  hold  that  Caste  in  the  ancient  Vedic  times 
was  no  systematic  institution  of  the  A'ryas.  The  opinion 
-of  Dr.  Max  Muller,  the  editor  of  the  Rig-VMa  and 
the  most  competent  judge  in  the  case,  is  entirely  in 
accordance  with  that  which  we  have  ventured  to  express. 
In  a Review  of  Muir’s  Texts  in  the  London  Times,  he 
has  the  following  passage  : — “ Does  Caste,  as  we  find  it 
in  Maiiu  and  at  the  present  day,  form  part  of  the  reli- 
o’ious  teaching:  of  the  Vedas  I We  answer  with  a decided 
‘No.’  There  is  no  authority  whatever  in  the  Veda  for 
the  complicated  system  of  castes,  no  authority  for  the 
offensive  privileges  claimed  by  the  Brahmans ; no 
authority  for  the  degraded  position  of  the  Shudras. 
There  is  no  law  to  prohibit  the  different  classes  of  the 
people  from  living  together ; from  eating  and  drinking- 
together  •,  no  law  to  prohibit  the  marriage  of  people 
belonging  to  different  castes  ; no  law  to  brand  the 
offspring  of  such  marriages  with  an  indelible  stigma. 
All  that  is  found  in  the  Veda,  at  least  in  the  most  anci- 
ent portion  of  it — the  Hymns — is  a verse,  in  which  it  is 
said  that  the  four  castes,  the  priest,  the  warrior,  the 
husbandman,  and  the  serf,  sprung  all  alike  from 
Brahma.  Europeans  are  able  to  show  that  eveir  this 
verse  is  of  later  origin  than  the  great  mass  of  the 
IIymns.”f 

* See  Molesworth’s  Maratlii  Dictionary  under  the  compound,  ofT'^T. 
The  .4Vya  rarwa  (or  colour)  is  spoken  of  as  a unity  in  Rig-Veda, 
3rd  asht.  2.  5.  9. 

t The  Times,  10th  April  1858. 


il8 


WIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  verse  here  referred  to  by  Dr.  Miiller  was  first 
brought  to  notice  by  Colebrooke.  It  occurs  in  the 
Piiruslia  Stilia,  or  Hymn  of  the  Primeval  Male,  trans- 
lated by  him  in  his  Essay  cn  the  Religious  Ceremonies 
of  the  Hindus.*  It  has  been  quoted  and  transla;ed  by 
Burnouf,  in  his  introduction  to  his  translation  of  the 
Bhagavata  Puriinaf  ; and  lately  it  has  been  literally 
and  correctly  rendered  by  Dr.  John  Muir,  whose  version 
we  here  introduce,  with  the  text  subjoined,  that  a pro- 
per estimate  of  its  bearings  on  the  subject  immediately 
before  us  ma}’^  be  formed. 

“ Purusha  has  a thousand  heads,  a thousand  eyes  , a thousand  feet. 
Everywhere  pervading  the  earth,  he  overpassed  a space  often  fingers. 
2.  Purusha  alone  is  this  whole  [universe],  which  has  been,  and  is 
to  be.  He  is  the  lord  of  immortality,  that  which  expands  by  nutri- 
ment. (?)  3.  So  great  is  his  glory  ; and  Purusha  is  gx-eater  than 

this.  All  ci-eatures  make  a fourth  of  him  ; three-fourths  of  him  (are) 
immortality  in  the  sky.  4,  Pui'usha  with  these  three  parts  monnted 
upwards  ; a fourth  of  him  was  again  produced  here.  He  then  diffused 
himself  everywhere  among  things  animate  and  inanimate.  5.  From 
him  spi-ang  Viraj  ; over  Vii'aj  xvas  Purusha : being  born  he  extended 
himself,  and  (produced)  the  earth  and  corpoi’eal  forms.  G.  When 
the  gods  offered  xip  Purusha  in  sacrifice,  the  spring  was  its  clarified 
buttei’,  summer  its  wood,  and  autumn  the  offering.  7.  This  victim, 
Purusha,  boim  primevally,  they  immolated  on  the  sacrificial  gi-ass  ; 
with  him  as  their  oblation  the  gods,  Sadhyas,  and  Rishis  sacrificed. 
8.  From  that  universal  oblation  were  produced  cixrds  and  claidfied 
butter.  He  produced  the  animals  of  which  Vdyu  is  the  deity,  both 
wild  and  tame.  9.  From  that  universal  sacrifice  were  produced 
hymns  called  rich  and  sdman,  the  meti’esand  yryas.  10.  Fi’om  that 
were  produced  horses  and  all  animals  with  two  rows  of  teeth,  cows^ 
goats,  and  sheep.  11.  When  they  formed  (or  offei-ed  up)  Purusha 
into  how  many  parts  did  they  divide  him?  What  was  his  mouth  ? 

* Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  vii.  p.  251  and  i\Iis.  Essays  1 p.  167-8. 

■f  Burnoufs  B.  P.  i.  cxxiii. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-TIIE  PURUSIIASUKTA. 


119 


hat  were  his  arms  ? What  were  called  his  thighs  and  feet  ? 12. 

The  Brahman  was  his  moulh  ; the  Bdjanya  was  made  his  arms  ; that 
which  was  the  Vaishja  was  his  thighs  ; the  Shudra  sprang  from  his 
feet.  13.  The  moon  was  produced  from  his  mind  (Manas)  ; the  sun 
from  his  eye  ; Indra  and  Agni  from  his  mouth  ; and  Vayu  from  his 
bi’eath.  14.  From  his  navel  came  the  atmosphere  ; from  his  head 
the  sky ; from  his  feet  the  earth,  from  his  ear  the  four  quarters : so  they 
formed  the  worlds.  15.  When  the  gods  in  performing  their  sacrifice 
bound  Purusha  as  their  victim,  there  were  seven  trenches  (round  the 
altar),  and  there  were  made  thrice  seven  pieces  of  fuel.  16.  With 
sacrifice  the  Gods  worshipped  the  sacrifice  : these  were  the  first  rites. 
These  great  beings  attained  to  the  heaven  where  the  gods,  the  ancient 
Sadhyas,  reside.”* 

'O  G\  NJ 

IIVII3^  ffTT  If?  ^4  !TW  ?T?-|r^rprFrfr>r  IKII 

3i4?TiTrfJTrd4f  1 'TTfr^T  vrfifR  RqTTstiriTT  T^rii 

^ ®s  c • 

II  ^ II  ^1151^1^- 

51^  3Tf)T  II  a II  gwiT  nTr^RPid’  rlTRr  str  1 eurgr 
q-^WR  ipfr  50  II  II  I 

arrw  ?frR  sir 

arJisiT  ^irwr  ||  ii  ^i^ar  Jrarg  'iq'TRq  1 q^f 

*»  > 'O  tf  C tts 

arpcRi^  qriqRT  II  ^ ii  fi^itr  rrir 

STRC  I SIRC  ^TfRRlTRRg-  ||  ^ ||  FfRITRI  31511# 

Rl  »T!irR:  I Rlflf  5IRC  HRliRRl  aisriTq;  ||  I^ol| 
qiRRT  sqqrRqR  | JR  RfiT^q  # fl|  ^IR^  TlTf  g-#R  ||  H 
JRJFR#  qrr  riRR:  fd:  q?  q?T:  q^lRl  3T5TRq  ||A:^|| 

RXUrn^#  STR^iflRR  apsTRH  | JRR  ffRllflR  TflRlf  qrjFSTRirllVitll 
Roqr  JTRif  3TfTrc3j  ^r#r  ?R:RRq#ir  | qi:iir  jrrrrl-srRr^riT  ^TNiRfqiRqi- 
R^^ll  Vv  II  qRTRq:  RT:  RRR:  fl^l:  | 5-fR7  W 

flRRl  aifiTR  q|T  ||  ||  qRR  qn  iTRqq  RHIIR  Wlfi- 

-qr^iR  I niftiR:  ?irit  q^qq  ^nwi:  RRqqi:  ||  \^  II 


* The  text  we  take  from  the  MS.  of  the  B.  B.  R.  A.  S.,  which  on  comparison  we  find, 
except  in  two  letters,  agrees  with  that  of  Burtouf,  which  was  made  from  the  same 
original  cop)',  that  of  Colonel  Shortrede, 


120 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Dr.  Muller  lias  lately  well  illustrated  liis^  own  remark^ 
lliat  European  critics  are  able  to  show  that  tins  passage 
of  the  Vedas  is  of  “ later  origin  than  the  great  mass  of 
the  hymns.”  In  his  History  of  Sanskrit  Literature  he 
thus  writes  respecting  it  : — “ There  can  be  little  doubt 
that  it  is  modern  both  in  its  character  and  in  its  diction. 
It  is  full  of  allusions  to  the  sacrificial  ceremonials,  it  uses 
technical  philosophical  terms,  it  mentions  the  three  sea- 
sons in  the  order  of  Vasanta,  spring,  Gilshma,  summer, 
and  Sharad,  autumn,  it  contains  the  only  passage  in  the 
Rig-Veda  where  the  four  castes  are  enumerated.  The 
evidence  of  language  for  the  modern  date  of  this  composi- 
tion is  equally  strong.  Grishma,  for  instance,  the  name 
of  the  hot  season,  does  not  occur  in  any  other  hymn  of 
the  Rig- Veda  ; and  Vasanta  also,  the  name  of  spring, 
does  not  belong  to  the  earliest  vocabulary  of  the  Vedic 
poets.  It  occurs  but  once  more  in  the  Rig- Veda  (mand. 
161.M.”)  Dr.  Muller  brmgs  down  this  hymn  to  the  time 
of  making  the  final  collection  of  the  Rig- Veda  Sauhita, 
“ the  work  of  the  Mantra  period,”  to  which  he  gives  the 
date  of  1000-800  before  Christ.  He  does  not  carry  it 
lower,  because  of  allusions  to  it  in  the  Brahmanas,  and 
because  it  has  found  a place  in  the  collections  of  the  Va- 
jaseyins  and  Atharvans.*  That  it  cannot  be  carried 
higher  than  this  is  obvious,  not  only  from  the  considera- 
tions above  referred  to,  but  from  the  distinction  (recognized 
by  it)  in  the  Vedic  “hymns  called  the  RicIi,andSdman,  the 
metres  (Chhandas) , and  the  Yajus,"  which  seems  to  indi- 
cate the  existence  of  an  artificial  division  at  the  time  it 
originated  of  the  Vedic  material,  at  least  for  conventional 
saciificial  pimposes. 

* Muller's  Hist.  Sans.  Lit,  p.  572. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  PURUSIIA  SUKTA.  121 


111  regard  to  the  meaning  of  tlie  rurii.dia  Sukta  we 
adliere  to  the  jiidgmeiit  wliich  we  liave  elsewhere  expressed 
upon  it.  “ d'he  support  wliich  even  it  gives  to  the  system 
of  caste  is  of  a very  limited  character.  The  passage  in  it 
which  approximates  the  subject  is  the  following  ‘ When 
they  produced  Piirusha  [perhaps  eipiivalent  to  ‘ when 
ruriisha  Avas  produced’]  into  Iioav  many  portions  did  they 
separate  him  ? What  was  his  mouth  ? What  were  his 
arms  ? What  were  pronounced  his  thighs  and  feet  ? The 
Brahman  was  his  mouth  ; the  Rajanya  (prince)  was  made 
his  arms ; the  Vaishya  was  his  thighs  ; and  the  Shudra 
sprang  from  his  feet.’  This  occurs  in  a composition  which 
is  both  metaphysical  and  figurative  ; and  it  prohahly  ex- 
presses an  idea  originally  of  this  character  : — The  Brah- 
man, as  the  expositor  of  the  will  of  God,  conceived  of  as 
an  enomious  male,  and  the  recipient  of  the  gifts  and 
offerings  made  to  the  divinities,  was  the  mouth  of  this 
male  ; the  Rdjamja,  the  prince  or  warrior,  the  iiistruinent 
of  offence  and  defence,  was  the  arms  of  this  male  ; the 
Vaishya,  as  the  cultivator  of  the  soil,  and  the  original 
possessor  of  its  Avealth,  Avas  the  thighs  of  this  male  ; and 
the  Shudra,  or  slave,  as  the  loAvest  member  of  the  body 
social,  Avas  the  feet  of  this  male.  All  this  is  clearly  meta- 
physical and  metaphorical,  though  afterwards  it  Avas  vieAved 
as  historical  and  dogmatic.”*  For  the  system  of  caste,  it 
is  noAv  obvious,  there  is  no  legitimate  Avarraut  in  the  great 
hymn  collection  of  the  Rig-Veda. 

* India  Three  Thousand  Years  Ago,  pp.  44-45. 

Dr.  TMnir,  illusti-ating  the  Purusha  Sukta,  properly  says  : “ It  is 
only  the  Shudi-a  who  is  here  said  to  have  sprung  from  the  feet  of 
Purusha.  In  a hymn  of  this  allegorical  and  mystical  character,  it 
cannot  be  assumed  that  the  writer  intended  to  represent  it  as  a 

16 


122 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Nor  IS  sudi  coimteiiance  of  Caste  to  he  fomid  in  any  of 
die  olden  portions  of  die  other  Vt^las,  wliicli  are  all  taken 
from  what  is  properly  denominated  hy  Dr.  Midler  the  “one 
genuine  collection,  the  so-called  Rig-Veda,  or  the  Veda 
of  praise.”* 

The  first  of  these  derivatiyc  Vedas  is  the  Sdrna,  the 
whole  of  whose  texts,  with  few  exceptions,  as  already  hint- 
ed, liaye  been  actually  found  in  the  Rik,  cspeciall}^  in  the 
eighth  and  ninth  mandals.f  It  is  not  to  he  expected,  con- 
secpiently,  that  much  light  should  he  cast  hy  it  individually 
on  the'social  state  of  the  ancient  ATyas,  eyen  though  it 
.should  ho  admitted,  as  thought  hy  Dr.  Muller,  that  the  time 
of  its  construction  falls  n-ithin  that  of  the  Rrahmanas, — 
hetween  800 — 600  years  before  Christ.  We  notice  a few 
things  which  have  struck  our  attention  when  going  over  it 
in  connexion  with  the  subject  before  us. 

dlie  god  Brahma  is  distinguished  in  one  place  both  from 
Agni,  the  god  of  fire,  and  Vrihaspati,  the  lord  of  prayer, 

A pre-eminence  among  the  gods  is  in  one  other  place  at  least 

histoiical  fact,  that  the  four  different  classes  sprang  from  different 
parts  of  Purusha’s  body  ; any  more  than  that  he  desired  to  assert, 
as  literally  true,  what  he  has  stated  in  verses  13  and  14  ; that  ‘ the 
moon  was  produced  from  his  mind,  the  sun  from  his  eye,  Indra  and 
Agni  from  his  niOMt/j,  and  Vayu  from  his  tirent//,’  &c.  Ac.  &c.  In  flict 
the  Yajur  Veda  alleges  that  Vayu  came  forth  from  his  car;  and 
so  contradicts  the  Pig-Veda.”  Texts  i.  10. 

* lleview  in  Times,  10th  April,  1858. 

I As  the  Sama  does  not  make  quotations  from  the  last  hj-mns  of  the 
Rik,  it  has  been  inferred  by  Weber  and  others  that  its  pieces  had  been 
arranged  before  the  completion  of  the  Rig-Veda  collection  ; but  Dr. 
hliiller  (Anc.  Sans.  Lit.  p.  427.)  attributes  both  its  collection  and  that 
of  the  Rig-Veda  to  the  Brahinana  period.  See  Muir’s  Texts,  ii.  203. 

J Benfey’s  Text  of  Sdma  Veda,  p.  10. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  SAMA  VEDA. 


123 


nscribed  to  him,  no  doubt  because  he  is  viewed  as  the  lord 
of  sacrifice*  lu  the  jiassag-e  last  referred  to,  the  JUs/ii  is 
mcutioiied  as  the  marked  one  among  the  Vipras,  or  iiitel- 
ligcut ; while  in  another  the  Vipra  is  denominated  the  in_ 
strumcutalitv,  or  agent,  of  tlie  sacrifice,!  thus  intimaling 
that  the  designation  was  being  applied  distinctive!}^  to  an 
oiliciating  priest.  Several  passages  in  the  Sama  in  which 
the  word  lirahma,  used  as  a human  conductor  of  prayer  or 
sacrifice,  are  taken  from  the  Rik,  need  not  be  here  noticed, 
'I'lie  human  Brahma  is  spoken  of,  in  one  place,  as  the  master 
of  (holy)  seasons,  and  the  Brahmans  as  praising  Indra 
in  hvmns,f  The  designation  Brahma  seems  from  this 
to  have  been  about  this  time  coming  into  use  as  a generic 

* Tliis  is  in  a curious  address  to  the  sacred  Soma,  the  genius  of 
ardent  spirits  : — 

fi'riT:  ITT  UdtTr  STRTr  friT  ^IRTi  I 

sTfir  ^'ir^Tf  TTTi : 37ffTrur%R!TRtiTfffr  sTiirq-’r  | 

unr:  !! 

.Sama  Veda,  2nd  part,  hi.  3,  Stevenson’s  Text  jn  77,  Benfey’s,  8-t. 

Soma  is  pure,  the  generator  of  intellect,  the  generator  of  the  heavens, 
the  generator  of  fire,  the  generator  of  the  sun,  the  generator  of 
Indra,  and  the  generator  of  the  earth,  the  generator  of  Vishnu — Soma, 
when  sounding  it  goes  to  its  holy  place,  (is)  Brahnni  among  the  gods, 
the  high-one  among  the  poets,  the  Bishi  among  the  Vipras,  the 
hawk  among  the  raptores,  the  bufl'aloe  among  horned  animals 
and  the  sword  among  cleavers. 

i rifr  75TFT  ur-TT  : sdma,  ii.  G.  (Benfcy,  p.  I2G.) 

X wur  T rsTr  u't  ii 

3'3Tr'T  tsf  Rfifffr  f?TTr  S'  il 

Siima  Veda,  part  1st,  v.  G.  2.  Stevenson’s  Text  p.  38,  Benfey’s, 
P.  46.  Compare  fthidhava’s  Comment,  sub.  loc. 


124 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


term  for  a priest.  Nothing  of  a peculiar  character  occurs 
ill  the  Sama  applying  either  to  the  Raja  or  the  Vhha. 

The  second  of  the  derivative  Vedas,  the  Yajus  or  Yajur, 
as  already  mentioned,  exists  in  two  forms,  the  Black 
and  the  White.*  They  are  partly  in  prose  and  partly 
in  verse,  the  poetical  portion  being  generally  that  which 
is  taken  from  the  Rik,  Exclusive  of  their  texts  from  the 
Rik,  they  appear,  in  their  liturgical  directions  especially, 
very  like  the  Brahraanas,to  the  era  of  which,  as  collections, 
they  belong.  They  indicate  the  assumption  of  Brahmani- 
cal  pre-eminence,  but  in  the  face  of  opposition  from 
certain  portions  of  the  Indian  commiinit3\ 

In  the  Black  Yajur  Veda,  the  Brahma,  and  Kshatra  are, 
(with  the  Sujiraja  (the  good  population),  and  Rcnjasposha 
supporting  wealth),  recognized  as  distinct  interests,  in 
prayers  several  times  used.f  The  predominance  of  the 
Brahman  in  sacrifice  is  set  forth  throughout  this  collec- 
tion, at  least  of  the  portions  of  it  which  have  been  print- 
ed. Social  distinctions  are  recognized  in  it,  as  those  of 
the  Brahma ; the  Rajanya,  prince ; the.  Mahisju,  the 
wife  of  an  anointed  king ; the  Parivrikti,  according  to 
the  commentator  Madhava  “the  unloved  wife  of  a king” 
(concubine.^);  the  Senani,  general;  theNM^u,  charioteer; 
the  Grdmnni,  villager;  the  Kshutta,i\ie.  “guardian  of  the 
females ; the  Sangrahitd,  the  treasurer ; the  Bhdgaduyha, 

* See  above,  p.  74.  In  the  text  of  the  White  Yajur  V(5da,  ably 
edited  by  Dr.  Weber  of  Berlin,  there  are  4045  lines.  Dr.  W.  gives 
us  also  the  text  of  the  commentary  of  iMahidhara,  the  Shatapatha 
Bnilimana,  and  the  Shrauta  Sutras  of  Katyayan,  and  Extracts  from 
the  Commentaries  of  Karka  and  Yajnikadeva. 

j Taittirlya  Sanhita  of  Y.  V.  i.  3.  I ; I.  9.  G.  (Roer  and  Cowell’s 
ed.  vol.  i.  pp.  445,  492.) 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  YAJUR  \T:DA.  125 


the  collector  (of  the  king's  portion,  said  by  the  commen- 
tator to  be  the  sixth  part)  ; the  Akshdvapa,  the  player  at 
dice.*  But  these  are  probably  principally  designations  of 
parties  in  public  office.  The  commentator  speaks  of 
tliem  as  the  recognized  supporters  of  the  kingdom.f  An 
appropriation  of  the  gods  is  thus  made  in  recognition  of 
certain  orders  of  the  community.  “ Brihaspati  is  the  god 
of  speech  ; Indra,  of  chiefs;  Mitra,  of  the  truthful ; Va- 
rum of  the  religious”;  and  “ Soma  of  us  the  Brahmans. 
Brahmans  and  Kshatriyas  are  viewed  as  distinct,  in  con- 
nexion with  the  colour  of  the  beasts  used  in  a certain 
sacrifice. § 

In  the  White  Yajur  Veda  the  information  bearing  on 
our  subject  is  such  as  the  following: — 

In  this  Veda  the  Brahma  and  Kshatra  are  coupled 
together  in  the  worship  of  Agni,  and  in  other  connexions 
as  in  the  Black  Yajur  Veda.|l  The  Brahman  is  men- 
tioned as  an  object  of  reverence  with  ancestors  and 
rishis,!!  Indra  (the  thunderer)  is  declared  to  be  the  hold 
and  support  of  the  Kshatra,**  while  he  is  also  set  forth 
as  the  god  of  the  Kshatra  and  the  princedom.  Soma 
(so  often  addressed  in  sacrifice)  is  declared  to  be  the 
god  of  the  Brdhmans,-\-\  as  in  a passage  from  the  Schna 
IVda  already  referred  to.  The  different  functions  in 
the  community  of  the  Brahman  and  Kshatra  are  thus  in- 
directl}’^  recognized.  Salutations  are  given  to  the  Kshe- 
proprietor  of  fields  ; to  the  Suta,  bard  or  chario- 

* Taittariya  Sanluta,  i.  8.  9.  % S.  Y.  V.  i.  6.  46. 

t Roer  & Cowell’s  Ed.  vol.  ii.  p.  105.  **  S.  Y.  V.  1.  9.  8. 

X Taitt.  S.  of  Y.  V.;  8.  10.  ft  Slmkla  Yajur  Yeda  1.  9.  19- 

§ Taittin'ja  Sanliita  of  Y.  V.  ii.  1.  2. 

II  Slmkla  Yajur- Veda,  i.  1.  18  ; i.  5.  26. 


126 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tcer;  to  the  Taskarapati,  probably  master  of  a subjugated 
tribe  to  the.  K^(llunchapat^,  “ iubabiting- mountainous 
regions”  ; to  the  bearers  of  bows  and  arrows ; to  the 
Skvapati,  or  master  of  bounds  ; to  tlie  Vratapati,  “ the 
master  of  a multitude  to  the  <S'e??aand  Seiuhii,  to  the 
army  and  the  leader  of  the  army ; to  the  Sangrihita, 
treasurer ; to  the  Takslm,  carpenter,  and  Rathakara, 
the  coacbmaber ; to  the  Kulala,  the  potter,  and  Karmara, 
the  worber  in  the  coarser  metals ; to  the  Nishdda,  aborigi- 
nal settlei’jj'  and  to  other  parties  recognized  as  classesin  the 
commuuity.J  The  Brahman  is  spoben  of  as  endowed 
with  the  bnowledge  of  Brahma  {hvalimavarcha&i)  and 
the  Hajanya,  as  possessed  of  bravery  {sh{nxi).\ 

Even  more  distinctive  notices  than  these  of  the  varied 
and  numerous  classes  of  Indian  society  occur  in  this 
White  Yajur  AYda.  They  are  found  in  connexion  Avitli 
the  most  mysterious  rite  of  Hinduism,  that  of  the  Punisha- 
mcdlia,  or  sacrifice  of  Purusha,  nominally  the  god 
Prajapati.  A whole  /\dhaya,  or  section  is  devoted  to 
them, II  in  wdiich  the  parties  are  brought  forward,  or  con- 
secrated, as  typical  representatives  of  the  multitudinous 
objects  recognized  in  the  Purushamedha,  A few  of  these 
parties  are  mentioned,  also,  in  the  Shatapatha  Brahmana 

* In  Wilson’s  Sans.  Diet.  Taskara  is  rendered  by  “ thief,  robber.” 
hlaludliara  in  his  commentary  on  tlie  Sluikla  Yajur  Veda  attaches  a 
similar  meaning  to  tlie  word.  Weber’s  ed.  i.  p.  497. 

j"  hlalndhara  views  the  Nishadas  as  mountain  Bhillas,  caters  of 
llesh.  Weber’s  Text.  i.  p.  500.  The  word  Nishada,  as  shown  by 
Lassen,  means  the  settled. 

^ Shukla  Yajur  Veda,  i.  16.  18-26. 

§ Shukla  Yajur-Veda,  ii.  22.  20.  (Weber’s  ed.  p.  703.) 

II  Shukla  Yajur-Veda,  adh.  30.  (Weber’s  ed.  i.  p.  811-848.) 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  FURUSIIA  MEDIIA. 


127 


of  tlie  Yajur  V eda;*  and  with  variations  they  all  occur  in 
the  Taittiriya  Briihinana  of  the  Black  Yaj nr  Veda,f  in  a 
passage  which,  as  far  as  I know,  has  not  yet  attracted 
the  attention  of  Europeans. 

The  importance  of  the  Adhyaya  of  the  White  Yajnr- 
Veda,  now  mentioned,  in  the  illustration  of  ancient  Indian 
society  requires  its  quotation  in  full. 


1 XBrahmani 

..  Brahmanam, 

...  for  the  Brahma 

. a Brahman. 

2 Kshatrtiya 

..  Rdjanyam, 

...  for  the  Kshatra,  .. 

. a Prince. 

3 Marudbliyo 

Vaishyam, 

...  for  Tillage, 

a Vaishya. 

4 Tapasi 

Shudram, 

...  for  Toil, 

a Shudra 

5 Tamasi 

..  Taskaram, 

...  for  Darkness, 

a Thief. 

C Nurakdya 

..  Virhanam, 

...  for  Hellishness,  ... 

a Murderer. 

7 Papmani 

KUbam, 

...  for  Sin, 

a Eunuch. 

8 A'krayuya 

..  Ayogum, 

...  for  Distress  (?)  ... 

an  Ayogava. 

9 Kiimdya, 

..  Pushchaliim, 

...  for  Lust, 

a B'hore. 

10  Atiknishtdya  .. 

. Mdgadham, 

..  for  great-Mourning 

a Mdgadhtt. 

11  Nrittaya 

..  Slitam, 

...  for  Dancing, 

a Siita. 

12  Gltdya 

..  Skaili'tsham, 

...  for  Singing, 

an  Actor. 

13  Dharmdya 

..  Sabhdcharam, 

...  for  Duty  (or  Reli- 
gion) 

an  Attendant-on-the- 
Synagogue. 

14  Xarhhthdyai  . 

..  Bhhnalam, 

...  for  Bad-luck, 

a Frightful-person. 

15  Xarmdya 

..  Ribham, 

...  for  Amusement,  ... 

an  Orator. 

IG  Ilasdya 

..  Kdrim, 

...  for  Laughter, 

an  Artificer. 

17  Ananddya 

..  Sirishakham, 

...  for  Joy, 

a Lover-of-xeoinen. 

18  Pramade 

..  Kumdriputram, 

...  for  Pleasure, 

a Son-of-an-unmar- 
ried-girl 

19  Midhdyai 

,.  Rathakdram, 

...  for  Intelligence,  ... 

a Chariot-maker. 

20  Dhdirydya 

..  Takshdnam, 

...  for  Firmness, 

a Carpenter. 

21  Tapasi^ 

. Kauldlani, 

...  for  Labour, 

a Potter. 

22  Maydyai 

. Kanndram, 

...  for  Jugglery, 

a Blacksmith. 

23  Riipdya 

. Manikdram, 

..  for  Beauty, 

a Jeiceller. 

21  Shubhi 

..  Vapam, 

...  for  Auspiciousness, 

a So  leer. 

25  Sharavydya 

..  Ishukdram, 

...  for  Shooting, 

a Maker-of-arroies 

23  Ilityai 

..  Dhamishkdram,  . 

...  for  Armour, 

a Maker-of-bows. 

* Aclhaya,  xiii. 

f Taittriiya  Bralimana  of  the  Krishna  Yajur-Vecla,  iii.  fol.  40-42 
of  Author’s  MS. 

t The  numbers  here  siren  are  not  in  the  Viida. 

5 U'e  hare  had  tapasi  already  (in  No.  4).  The  Taittiriya  Urdhuiana  has  here  Shram&ya 
meaning  also  “ for  labour.” 


128 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


27  Karmwte 

Jydkdram, 

for  Activity, 

a Maker-qf-bow- 
sirhigs. 

28  Dishtuya 

Rajusarjatn, 

for  Fortune, 

a Ropemaker. 

29  Mrityave 

Mrigayum, 

for  Death, 

a Huntsman. 

GO  Antakdya 

Svaninam, 

for  the  Agent-of- 
death, 

' a Dognian. 

31  Nadibhyah 

. Paunjishtam, 

for  Rivers, 

a Punjishta.* 

32  Rikshikubhyo\ 

Naishddam, 

for  a Watchman,  ... 

a Desemdant-of-a- 
R'ishdda. 

33  Furushavyd- 
ghrdya 

Durmadani, 

for  Haughtiness,  ... 

a Drunkard. 

34  Gandharvdpsa- 
robhyo 

Vrdtyam, 

, for  the  Gandharvas 
and  Apsaras, 

a Vrdtya. 

35  Frayugbhyah  ... 

Pnmattam, 

for  the  Abstracted, 

a Madman. 

36  Sa)padevaja?it- 
bhyo 

Apratipadam, 

for  Serpents  and 
Devajauas 

an  Ignorant. 

37  Ayebhyah 

Kitavam, 

for  Luck, 

a Dice-player. 

38  Iryatdya 

Akitava/n, 

for  the  Departed, ... 

a Xon-jdayer-at-dice. 

39  Pishachibhyah., 

. Bidalakdrim, 

for  Pishachas, 

afemale-Basket- 

maker. 

40  Tdtiidhdndbhyah  Kantakikdrim 

for  the  Y atudhanas,  J 

; a Pinmakcr. 

4l  Sandhaye 

Jdram, 

for  Junction, 

a Paramour. 

42  Gdhaya 

. Upapatim, 

for  the  House, 

. a Concubine 

43  Artyai 

. Farivittam, 

. for  Affliction, 

. an  Unmarried-clde?'- 
brother.^ 

44  Nirrityai 

. Parivividdnam, 

. for  Misfortune,  ... 

a Married-elder- 
brother. 

45  2\ishkrityai 

. Pt'shaskdrim, 

. for  Craft, 

, an  Actress. 

46  Samjndndya  .. 

. Stnarakdrim, 

. for  Gesture, 

. an  Amorous-U'oman. 

47  Prakdntodydya 

. Vpasadam, 

. for  Love, 

a Comi)anion. 

48  Bald y a 

. Vpaddin, 

. for  Strength, 

an  Observer. 

49  I'arndya 

. Amtrudham, 

for  Varna  (Descent) 

a Follower  ( or  Page ). 

50  Vtsddebhyah  .. 

. Kubjam, 

for  the  Applying- 
of  Unguents, 

a Hunchback. 

51  Pramude 

. Vdmanam, 

. for  Amusement.  ... 

a Dicarf. 

52  Dwdrbhyah 

. Srdmam, 

. for  Doors, 

a Blear-eyed-person. 

53  Svapndya 

. Andham, 

. for  Dreaming, 

a Blind-person. 

54  Adharmdya 

. Badhiram, 

. for  Irreligion, 

a Dea  f-person. 

55  Pavitrdya  ... 

BhUhajam, 

for  Purification,  ... 

a Physician. 

56  Prajndndya  ... 

Xakshatradarsham 

for  Philosophy, 

, an  Astronomer. 

• Mabi'dliara,  the  Commentator,  makes  this  a Slayer-of-hirds,  and  the  Loicest-horn,  the 
Puliasa. 

t The  coupling  of  the  Watchman  witli  the  class  of  the  Nishdda,  suggests  tlie  idea  tliat  the 
svord  Rakshasa  may  have  come  into  use  from  the  aboriginal  tribes  havuig  leen  employed  as 
Watchmen.  See  above,  p.  99. 

t The  name  TStudhdna  is  applied  to  magicians,  barbarians,  and  demons. 

§ “ The  younger  being  unmarried.”  3Iahfdhara. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  PURUSIIA  MEDHA.  129 


57  Ashikshdyai  ... 

. Prashninam, 

..  for  Non-insliuction 

, a Catechizer. 

53  Upashikshdya  .. 

. Abhi prashninam,. 

..  for  Elementary- 

an  Interrogator. 

59  Marydddyai  ... 

Prashnativdkam,- 

instruction, 

..  for  B )undaries,  ... 

a Revealcr-of- Omens. 

60  Armebhyo 

Hastipam, 

..  for  Conveyances,  ... 

an  Elephant-keeper. 

61  Javdya 

Ashvapam, 

..  for  Running, 

a Horse-keeper. 

62  Pushfai 

Gopdlam, 

..  for  Nourisliraent,  ... 

a Coiekeepcr. 

6 5 Virydya 

. Axipdlam, 

. for  Heroism, 

a Shepherd. 

64  Tdjasi 

Ajapdlam, 

..  for  Bravery, 

a Goatherd. 

65  Irdyai 

Kindshan, 

..  for  the  Earth, 

a Cultivator. 

66  Kildldya 

Surdkdram, 

,.  for  Water, 

a Dealer-in-Spirils. 

6/  Bhadrdya 

Grihapani, 

..  for  Wellbeing, 

a Housekeeper 

63  Shreyase 

fiUadham, 

..  for  Prosperity,  ... 

a Holder-of-  Wealth. 

69  A' dhyakshdya... 

AniikshatCdra.'n,  .. 

. for  Oversight, 

a Footman. 

70  Bhdyai 

Ddrvdhdrani, 

,.  for  Combustion,  ... 

a Timber-bringcr. 

71  Prabhdya 

Agnedham, 

,.  for  Light, 

a Fire-kindler. 

72  BradJmasya- 

Abhishtktdram,  .. 

. for  the  Region  of  <m  Anolnier. 

vishtapdya 
7 5 VarshUhthdya- 

Pariveshtdrain, 

the  Sun, 

. for  Supreme  Para- 

■  a Distributor-pf- 

Ndkaya, 

7't  Divalokdya 

Peshildram, 

dise, 

. for  the  Ahode-of- 

food-to-guests. 
a Maker-of-Jigures. 

^5  Maiiuskyalokdya  Prakaritdram, 

the  Gods, 

..  for  the  abode  of  Men  a Moulder. 

76  Sarviibhyolokd- 

Vpasektdram, 

..  for  the  Universe, ... 

a Sprinkler. 

bhyah 

77  Avarityaibadhd- 

■ Vpamanihitdram . 

..  for  the  De-truc  ion- 

a Churner. 

ya 

73  yiedhdya  vdsah 

Palpulim, 

of-Adversity, 
. for  Sacrifice, 

a Washer-of -clothes. 

79  Prakdmdya 

Rajayitrim, 

. for  Eagerness. 

a I)yer-of-clothes. 

80  Bitaye 

Stenahridayatn  ... 

, for  Prosperity, 

a Thievish-hearted- 

81  Vairhatydya  ... 

Pishunam, 

. for  Malicious-Mur- 
der, 

. for  Loneliness, 

person. 
a Backbiti.r. 

82  Viviktyai 

Kshattdram 

a Kshatta  CLictor) 

£3  Aupjdristfdya... 

Anukshattdram,  .. 

. for  Supervision,  ... 

a Sub-Lictor. 

84  Baldya 

Anucharam, 

. for  Strength, 

a Follotcer. 

35  Bhumne 

Parishkandam, 

. for  Water, 

a Climber. 

86  Priydya 

Priyavddinam, 

. for  Love, 

a Sweet-speaker. 

87  Arishlyd 

Asvasddam, 

. for  Fortune  (or  Mis- 

a  Horseman. 

88  Swargdyalokdya  Bhdgadugham, 

fortune), 

. for  Heaven, 

a Bhdgadugha.' 

89  Manyave 

Ayastdpam, 

. for  Anger, 

a Healer-of-iron  (a 

90  Krodhdya 

i^isaram, 

. for  Anger, 

BlacksmitM) 
a Ferryman. 

91  Yogdya 

Yoktdram, 

. for  Junction, 

a Joiner. 

92  Shokdya 

Abhisartdrain, 

. for  Grief, 

a Waiter. 

* A Collector  of  the  prince's  revenue  Ser  before,  j',  l‘i4. 


17 


130 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


93  Kshemdya 

94  Uthulanikitle 

bhyah 

95  Vapushe 
93  Shildya 

97  IKirrityai 

98  Yamdya 
93  Yamdya 

109  Atharvabhyo  ... 

101  Samvatsardya 

102  Parivatsardya 

103  Iddvatsardya... 

104  Idvatsardya  ... 


Vimoktdram, 

Strishthmam, 

Mdmiskritam, 

Anjanikdrim, 

Koshakdrim, 

Asurn, 

Yamasum, 

Avatokdm, 

Parydyinim, 

Avijdtdm, 

Atitvarim, 

A tishkadvarim, 


105  Vatsardya  ...  Vijarjardm, 

106  Samvatsardya.  Palihnim, 

107  Ribhubkyo  ...  AJinsandham, 

108  Sddhyebhyah...  Charmamaam, 

109  Sarobhyo  ...  Dhaivaram, 

110  Upasthdvard-  Ddsham, 

bhyo 

111  Vaishantd-  Baindam, 

bhyo 

112  Nadvaldbhyah.  Shaushkalam, 

113  Pdrdya  ...  Margdrdm, 

114  Av&rayd  ...  Kaivartam, 

115  Tirthebhyah^...  A'ndam, 


...  for  Hapiness, 

...  for  Arrival  and  Non- 
arrival, 

...  for  a Handsome 
Body, 

...  for  Beauty, 

...  for  Misfortune,  ... 

...  for  Yama,* 

...  for  Yama, 

...  for  a Priest, 

...  for  a complete-year, 

...  for  the  Past-Year, 

...  for  the  Present- 
Y'rar, 

...  for  a Prosperous- 
Year, 

...  for  the  Year  (un- 
defined.) 

...  for  Time, 

...  for  tlieRibhus, 

...  for  the  Sadhas, 

...  for  Waters, 

...  for  Mountains, 

...  for  Pools, 

...  forFens, 

...  for  the  Opposite 
Bank  of  a River, 
...  for  the  Near  Bank 
of  a River, 

...  for  Ferries, 


a Liberator. 
a Man-of-worth. 

a Proved-man. 

an  Anoint er-of-the- 
eyes. 

a Maker -of-sheaths 
for  swords. 
a Barren-woman. 
a Bcarer-of-lxcins.^ 
a Woman-without- 
offspring. 

a Woman-skilled-in- 
counting. 

a Woman-who-has- 
not-borne-a-child. 
an  Unchaste-woman. 

a Woman-in-hor- 
courses. 
an  Old-icoman. 

a White-haired-  IFo- 
man. 

a Skindresser. 
a Dealer-in-skins. 
a Man-gf-the-fisher- 
class. 

a Ddsha  ( Dasyu ). 

One-of-the-Binda- 
class  ( a Hunter).  J 
a Fishdealer. 
a Deer-killer. 

a Kaivartta  ( Fisher- 
man ). 
an  Anda. 


• The  god  of  the  other  world. 

t In  the  Taittirfya  Brdhmana,  we  have  Tamyai,  the  dative  feminine,  for  Yamdya  of  the  Shnkla 
Yajur-Vdda  text.  This  reading,  which  refers  the  personage  represented  to  Yami,  the  sister,  or 
wife  of  Yatna,  seems  the  more  appropriate. 

t The  commentator  conples  the  Binda  or  Vinda  with  the  Nishdda,  possibly  with  reference  to 
the  Vindhya  mountains. 

§ The  word  tirtba,  here  used  as  a ferry,  seems  to  have  got  into  use  from  the  Brahmanic 
missionaries  having  chosen  the  ferries  of  rivers  as  their  early  stations. 


OKIGIN  OF  CASTE-THE  PUKUSHA  MEDHA.  131 


110  Vishamebhyo  Maindlam, 

11/  Svanebhyah  ...  Parnaham, 

118  Giihdbhyah  ...  Kir&tam, 

119  Sdnubhyo  ...  Jambhakam, 


...  for  Precipices,  ...  One-of-the  Mindla- 
class. 

...  for  Eclioes,  ...  a Parnaka  (Vender 
of  leaves ). 

...  for  Caves,  ...  a Kirdta. 

...  for  Mountain  Pla-  a Jambhaka  {Sa- 
teaus,  vage ). 


120  Parvatibhyah 

12 1 Bibhatsdyai  ... 

122  Varndya 

123  Tuldyai 

124  Pashchddo- 

shdya 

125  Vishvebhyobhu- 

tebhyah 

123  BhUtyai 
127  Abhiityai 

125  A'rtyai 

123  Vridhyai 

130  Shanshardya  ... 


Kimpiirusham, 

Paidkasam, 

Hiranyahdram. 

Vdnijam, 

Gldvinam, 

Sidhmalam, 


Jdgaranam, 

Svapanam, 

Janavddinam, 

Apagalbham, 

Prachidam, 


for  (High)  Moun- 
tains, 

for  Disgust, 

for  the  Precious 
Metal, 

for  Weighing, 


a Kimpitrusha. 

a Person  of  the  Pal- 
kasa  tribe. 
a Goldsmith. 


131  Akshardjdya  ...  Kitavam, 

132  Kritdya  ...  Adinavadarsham 


1)3  Tretdyai  ...  Kalpinam, 

134  Dvdpardya  ...  Adhikalpinam, 

135  A'skanddya  ...  Sabhdsthdnum, 


133  Mrityavi 
13/  Antakdya 


...  Govyachham, 
...  Goghdtam, 


133  Dnshkritdya  ...  Charakdchdryan 


a Person  of  the  Vdni 
class  (a  Vender). 

..  for  the  “ Posterior-  a Mourner. 
fault,” 

..  for  the  Vishve-Bhu-  a Leper. 
tas  ( all-the-De- 
mons), 

..  for  Prosperity,  ...  a Watcher. 

..  for  Adversity,  for  a Drowning  man. 
Non-Existences), 

..  for  Sickness.  ...  a Popular-Speaker. 

..  for  Old-age,  ...  an  Infirm-person. 

..  for  the  Commence-  a Foreslasher. 
ment-of-a-Con- 
test, 

...  for  the  Chief-of-the-  a Gambler. 

Dice, 

for  the  Krita  (the  an  hispector-of- 
first  Yuga,  that  of  faults. 

deeds), 

..  for theTreta (Yuga),  a Trickster. 

..  for  the  Dvdpar  Yuga,  an  Arch-trickster. 

...  for  the  A'skanda  a Lounger-in-meet- 
(the  Evil  Yuga,)  ings.* 

...  for  Death,  ...  z.-a  Attendant-on-cows 

...  fur  the  Agent-of-  a Cow-killer. 

Death, 

for  Wickedness,  ...  a Charakdchdrya.^ 


* This  is  the  first  notice  in  the  Indian  literature  of  the  “ Four  Ages”  of  the  wrrld.  The  last 
of  them,  here  denominated  the  A’kanda,  is  in  the  third  Kdndi  of  the  Taittirfya  Brdhmana  of  the 
Black  Yajur  Vdda  (Author’s  MS.  fol.  41,)  named  the  Kali,  the  designation  which  it  now 
commonly  bears. 

t Mahldhara  renders  this  a ” Guru  of  the  Charakas,”  who  beionged  to  a Shfikha  of  the 
B I ack-T  a j n r- Vdd  a . 


132 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


139  Papmane 

140  PratishricthAya 

141  Ghoshuya 

142  Antdya 

143  Anaiitaya 

144  Shahddya 

145  Mahase 

146  Kro&hdya 

147  Avaraspardya 

14S  Vandya 

149  Anyatoranydya^ 

150  Agnayi 
lol  Prithivyai 


152  Vdyave 

153  Antarikshdya... 


Sailagam, 

Artanam, 

Bhadiam, 

Bahuvddmam, 

MiiJtam, 

Adambaraghdtam, 

Vindvddam, 

Twmvadhmam,  ... 
Shankhadhmam,  ... 

Vanapam, 
Ddvapam,  _ 

Pivdnam, 

Pit/iasarpinam, 

Chdnddlam, 
Vanshanartinam, .. 


154  Dive  ...  Khalathn, 

155  Surydya  ...  Haryaksham, 

153  Kakshatrebhyoh  Kirmiram, 

157  Chandramase  Kildsam,  «. 

158  Anhe  ...  Shuklam  Pingdk- 

sham, 

159  Ratrayai  ...  Krishnam  Pingdk- 

sham, 


..  for  Depravity, 

..  for  8ilent-listening, 
. for  Noise, 

..  for  the  End-of-Life, 
. for  Infinity, 
for  Sound, 

. for  a Festival  (sea- 
son of  worship), 

. for  Weeping, 

. for  Procession, 

. for  the  Forest, 

..  for  an  Unpassahle- 
Forest, 

,.  for  Fire, 

. for  the  Earth, 

for  the  Wind, 

. for  the  Firmament 
(Middle-of-the 
Sky), 

. for  the  Heaven,  ... 

. for  the  Sun, 

. for  the  .Constella- 
tions, 

. for  the  Moon, 
for  the  Day, 

for  Night, 


a Follaicer-of-his' 
own  Inclinations. 
a Sufferer. 
a Speaker. 
a Much-speaker. 
a Dumb-person. 
a Beater-of- drums. 
a Player-on-the~ 
Vind. 

a Blower-of-the-  Tuna. 
a Bloicer-of-the- 
Conch. 
a Forester. 
a Burner. 

a IVaterman. 

1 Lame  person  (''one 
who  creeps  or  moves 
along  on  a seat"). 

1 Chd’iddla. 
a Pole-dancer. 

i Bald-headed  man. 
a Man  with  greenish 
eyes. 

a Man-of-variegated 
colour. 

a Man-with-scabs. 
Reddish-eyed- per- 
son. 

Da  rk -rtd-eyed-per- 
son. 


Such  is  the  thirtieth  adhyaija  of  the  Yajur-Vecia,  in  a 
complete  form.  Though  found  in  the  Sanhita  of  that 
Veda,  it  clearly  belongs  to  the  period  of  the  Brahmana, 
— from  800-600  B.  C., — when  the  liturgical  arrange- 
ments of  the  A ryas  assumed  their  definite  form.  It 
throws  much  light  on  the  state  of  Indian  Societ}^  at  the 
time  to  which  it  l3elongs.  It  mentions  various  distinc- 
tive classes  in  the  community.  Some  of  these  are  viewed 
in  their  moral  aspects,  as  those  of  the  thief,  the  murderer. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- NOTICES  IN  THE  YAJUR  YEDA.  133 


the  drunkard,  the  paramour,  the  adulteress,  the  licen- 
tious-woman, the  liberator,  the  thievish-hearted  one,  the 
backbiter,  the  virtuous-man,  the  slothful-man,  and  the 
man-that-follows-his-own  inclinations.  Some  of  them 
are  noticed  in  connexion  with  natural  deformities,  defici- 
encies, infirmities,  and  diseases,  as  those  of  the  madman, 
the  blind-person,  the  hunchback,  the  dwarf,  the  deaf- 
person,  the  blear-eyed  person,  the  leper,  the  infirm-per- 
son, the  sufferer,  the  baldheaded-man,  the  person-wdth- 
scabs,  the  person- who-creeps  (who  is  lame?)  Some  of 
them  are  mentioned  in  connexion  with  their  personal  and 
family  peculiarities,  as  the  eunuch,  the  son-of-an-unmarri- 
ed-g’irl,  llie  married-elder-brother,  the  barren-woman,  the 
bearer-of-twins,the  woman-without-offspring,  the  woman- 
who-has-not-born-a-child,  the  woman-in-her-courses,  the 
old-woman,  the  man-with-greenish-eyes,  the  man-with- 
variegated-eyes,  the  man-with-reddish-eyes,  and  the 
man-witli-red-eyes.  Some  of  them  are  introduced  in 
connexion  with  their  employments  and  social  relations, 
as  the  actor,  the  attendant-on-the-synagogue,  the  orator, 
the  artist,  the  chariotraaker,  the  carpenter,  tlie  black- 
smith, the  jeweller,  the  sower,  the  raaker-of-arrows,  the 
maker-of-bows,  the  maker-of-bowstrings,  the  ropemaker, 
the  huntsman,  the  dograan,  the  player-at-dice,  the 
non-player-at-dice,  the  female  basketmaker,  the  woman- 
who-makes-pins  (of  thorns  ?),  the  companion,  the  follower, 
the  obserrer,  the  physician,  the  astronomer,  the  catechist, 
the  interrogator,  the  elephant-keeper,  the  horse-keeper, 
the  cowherd,  the  shepherd,  the  goatherd,  the  cultivator, 
the  spirit-dealer,  the  liouse-kee])er,  the  holder-of- wealth 
(money-lender  ?),  the  runner-after-a-chariot,  the  wood- 


134 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


man,  the  fire-kindler,  the  anointer,  the  servei'-of- meals, 
the  figure-maker,  the  moulder,  the  sprinkler  (with  per- 
fumes '?),  the  washerwoman,  the  dyer-of-clothes,  the 
lictor  (or  doorkeeper),  the  sub-lictor,  the  body-attendant, 
the  tax-collector,  the  ferryman,  the  joiner,  the  waiter, 
the  applier-of-unguents-to-the-eyes,  the  scabbard-maker, 
the  female-kiiower-of-sequence  (the  soothsayer  ?),  the 
skin-dresser,  the  dealer-in-skins,  the  fisherman,  the 
hunter,  the  fishdealer,  the  deer-killer,  the  leaf-seller, 
the  (l>oat)-binder,  the  goldsmith,  the  vender  or  merchant, 
the  (hired)  mourner,  the  watchman,  the  public-crier, 
the  foreslasher  (in  battle),  the  gambler,  the  viewer-of- 
the-early-sun  (in  worship),  the  fabricator,  the  arch-fabri- 
cator, the  attendant-on-cows,  the  cow-killer,  the  priest- 
of-the-Charakas,  the  speaker  (of  nonsense),  the  copious- 
speaker,  the  drum-beater,  the  player-on-the- Yina  (lute),  the 
blower-cf-the-tuna  (bagpipes),  the  blower  of  the  conch, 
the  forester,  the  forest-burner,  the  waterman,  the  pole- 
dancer,  Some  are  noticed  who,  it  may  be  supposed,  had 
a definite  status  of  office  or  rank  in  the  community,  as 
the  Brahman,  the  Rajan}’a,  the  Yaishya,  the  Shudra,  the 
Suta,  the  Vratya.  And  some  are  mentioned  as  belonging 
to  tribes  receiving  their  denominations  principall}'’  from 
the  countries  to  which  they  l)elonged,  as  the  Ayogava, 
the  Magadha,  the  Taskara,  the  Naishada,  the  Dasha 
(Dasyu),  the  Kaivarta,  the  Bainda  (ofVind),  the  Mainal, 
the  Kirata,  the  Jambhaka,  the  Kimpuru.?ha,  the  Paul- 
ka.sa  (or  Pulkasa),  and  the  Chandala.  All  this  testifies 
to  the  multifariousness  of  rank  and  division  of  labour 
in  the  Indian  community. 

Many  of  the  classes  of  men  here  mentioned  were  ulti- 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  YAJUR  VEDA.  135 


mately  recognized  as  forming  distinctive  Castes,  as  will 
appear  from  their  designations  when  compared  with  the 
list  of  castes  which  we  have  already  inserted.*  In  the 
passage,  which,  we  have  just  quoted,  however,  there  is 
no  decided  proof  of  anything  like  a complete  establish- 
ment of  the  caste-sj^stem  at  the  time  to  which  it 
belongs.  The  Brdlnnan,  doubtless,  had  his  claims  to 
superiority  from  his  office  of  conversancy  with  the  Brah- 
ma, now  probably  generally  hereditary.  The  prince  is 
the  representative  of  the  Kshatra,  or  power.  Tillage  is  in 
the  hands  of  the  Vaishya,  who,  it  is  to  be  noticed,  is  dis- 
tinct from  the  Vdni,  or  merchant.  The  symbolical  re- 
presentative of  toil  is  the  Shudra.  The  numerous  parties 
engaged  in  distinctive  occupations  are  certainly  not  men- 
tioned in  any  order  of  rank  or  even  of  fixed  profession- 
There  is  here  no  fabulous  reference  to  any  parties  born 
of  a conventional  or  adulterous  mixture  of  Caste.  If  the 
Caste  .system  did  at  this  time  exist  to  any  extent,  it  was 
far  from  being  matured.  Most  of  the  classes  mentioned 
without  such  patronymics  as  we  find  in  the  case  of  the 
Magadhas  and  Chandalas,  we  have  reason  to  believe, 
were  Aryas,  or  related  to  the  AVyas.  It  is  to  be  parti- 
cularly observed  that  no  exterior  tribes  are  mentioned 
which  have  been  recognized  geographicallyas  having  their 
location  south  of  the  Vindhya  mountains.  This  range,  up 
to  the  period  of  the  composition  of  this  Adhyaya,  had 
probably  not  been  crossed  by  the  A ryas. 

The  Purusha  Sukta,  which  we  have  already  quoted 
from  the  Rig- Veda, f follows  this  Adhyaya  in  the  White 
Yajur-Veda.  Little  light  is  cast  on  its  mysterious  sym- 


* See  above,  pp.  65-70.  f See  above,  pp.  118-119. 


136 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


holism  by  the  commentator  Malhdhara.  Without  com- 
punction, and  without  any  attention  to  the  literal  meaning 
of  his  text,  he  derives  the  Brahman  jfrojn  the  mouth  of 
Prajapati,  the  Ksliatri}’a  from  his  arms,  and  the  Yaishya 
from  his  thighs.  The  Indian  mind  had  undergone  a grear. 
deterioration  wlien  it  turned  poetical  figures  into  literal 
facts  ; uhen  it  turned  the  simple  and  natural,  though 
ph3'siolatrous,  poetry’  of  the  Vedas  into  legendrv;  and  when 
it  multiplied  and  magnified  the  legends  to  enormities  and 
absurdities  of  the  most  grotesque  and  monstrous  character. 

This  deterioration  of  the  Indian  mind  is  particular!}^ 
apparent  in  the  Atharva,  or  fourth  VMa,  to  which,  in 
connexion  with  tlie  subject  before  us,  we  now  turn  our 
attention.  As  already  mentioned,  the  word  Atharva  cor- 
responds with  the  Zand  A'thrava,  etymologically  a fire- 
man.* It  occurs  in  the  Rig- Veda  as  the  name  of  a 
particular  Rishi  or  sage,  from  the  constituents  of  whose 
school,  or  course,  in  after  times  it  probably  received  its  de- 
signation. It  differs  very  considerably  in  its  authority  and 
character  from  the  other  Vedas,  which,  more  than  it,  are 
particularly  associated  with  sacrifice.  “As there  are  three 
different  branches  of  the  ceremonial,  the  ^^eda  is,  for  the 
better  performance  of  the  sacrifices,  divided  into  three  ; 
the  Rig-Veda,  Yajur-Veda,  and  Sama-Veda.  The  cere- 
monial of  the  Ilotri  priests  is  performed  w ith  the  Rig- 
Vetla  j that  of  the  Adhvaryu  priests,  wdlh  the  Yajur- 
Veda  ; that  of  the  Udgatri  priests,  with  the  Sama-Veda. 
The  duties  of  the  Brahman  priests,  and  of  him  for  whom 
the  sacrifice  is  offered,  are  also  contained  in  these  three 
Vedas.  The  Atharva- Veda  is  not  used  for  solemn  sacri- 


* See  above,  p.  91. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— THE  PURUSIIA  MEDIIA. 


137 


fices,  and  is  very  different  from  tlie  others,  as  it  teaches 
only  expiatory,  preservative,  or  imprecatory  rites.”  This 
sensible  opinion  of  Madlmsudan  Sarasvati,  quoted  by  Dr. 
Miiller,*  has  been  confirmed  by  the  research  of  European 
and  American  orientalists.  “ The  Atharvana,”  says  Pro- 
fessor Whitney  (with  Dr.  R.  Roth,  the  joint-editor  of  its 
Text,t)  “ is  like  the  Rich,  a historical  general,  and  not  a 
liturgical  collection-  Its  first  eighteen  books,  of  which 
alone  it  was  originally  composed,  are  arranged  upon  a 
like  system  throughout : the  length  of  the  hymns,  and 
not  either  their  subject  or  their  alleged  authorship, 
being  the  guiding  principle  : those  of  about  the  same 
number  of  verses  are  combined  together  into  books,  and 
the  books  made  up  of  the  shorter  hymns  stand  first  in 
order.  A sixth  of  the  mass,  however,  is  not  metrical, 
but  consists  of  longer  or  shorter  prose  pieces,  nearly 
akin  in  point  of  language  and  style  to  passages  of  the 
Brahmanas.  Of  the  remainder,  or  metrical  portion, 
about  one-sixth  is  also  found  among  the  hymns  of  the 
Rich,  and  mostly  in  the  tenth  book  of  the  latter  : the  rest 
is  peculiar  to  the  Atharva.  The  greater  portion  of 
them  are  plainly  shown,  both  by  their  language  and  in- 
ternal character,  to  be  of  much  later  date  than  the 
general  contents  of  the  other  historic  Veda  (the  Rig- 
Veda),  and  even  than  its  tenth  book,  with  which 
they  stand  nearly  connected  in  import  and  origin.” 
“ The  most  prominent  characteristic  feature  of  the 
Atharvana  is  the  multitude  of  incantations  which  it  con- 

* History  of  Sanskrit  Literature,  p.  122.  For  Madhusiidan’s  complete 
view  of  the  Orthodox  Brahmanical  Literature,  see  Weber’s  Indische 
Studien,  i.  p.  1-20. 

t In  the  work,  as  edited  by  them,  there  are  10,296  lines.  . 

18 


138 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tains;  these  are  pronounced  either  by  the  person  who  is 
himself  to  be  benefited,  or,  more  often,  by  the  sorcerer 
for  him,  and  are  directed  to  the  procuring  of  the  greatest 
variety  of  desirable  ends  ; most  frequently,  perhaps,  long 
life,  or  recovery  from  grievous  sickness,  is  the  object 
sought  : there  a talisman,  such  as  a necklace,  is  some- 
times given,  or  in  very  numerous  cases  some  plant  en- 
dowed with  marvellous  virtues  is  to  be  the  immediate 
external  means  of  cure ; further,  the  attainment  of  wealth 
or  power  is  aimed  at,  the  downfall  of  enemies,  success  in 
loA^e  or  in  play,  the  removal  of  petty  pests,  and  so  on, 
even  down  to  tJie  growth  of  hair  on  a bald  pate.”*  “ The 
origin  of  the  Atharva  Sanhita,”  says  Professor  Weber, 
“ falls  within  the  period  when  Brahmanism  had  become 

dominant Many  of  the  hymns  which  it  contains  are  to 

be  found  also  in  the  Rik-Sanhita,f  bnt  there  they  are 
recent  interpolations  originating  in  the  period  wdien  its 
compilation  took  place,  while  in  the  Atharva  collection 
they  are  the  just  and  proper  expression  of  the  present. 
The  spirit  of  the  two  collections  is  entirely  different. 
In  the  Rik  there  breathes  a lively  natural  feeling,  a warm 
love  for  nature  ; while  in  the  Atharva,  on  the  contrary, 
there  predominates  an  anxious  apprehension  of  evil  spirits 
and  their  magical  powers  : in  the  Rik  we  see  the  people 
in  the  exercise  of  perfect  freedom  and  voluntary  activity, 
while  in  the  Atharva,  we  observe  them  bound  in  the 
fetters  of  the  hierarchy  and  superstition.”!  The  very 

* Joum.  of  the  American  Or.  Soc.  ir.  254-5,  308. 

t [Less  proportionally  of  the  material  of  the  Atharva-Veda  is  from 
the  Rig-V^da  than  that  of  the  Sama  and  Yajas.  j 

1 Hist,  of  Ind.  Lit.  quoted  in  Muir’s  Texts,  ii.  p.  202. 


OKIGIX  OF  CASTE— THE  PURUSHA  MEDHA.  139 


name  of  the  Atharva  Veda,  derived  from  a particular 
class  of  priests,  shows  that  originally  it  had  somewhat 
of  a sectarial  character.  “ According  to  the  original  dis- 
tribution of  the  sacrificial  offices  among  the  four  classes 
of  priests,  the  supervision  of  the  whole  sacrifice,  and  the 
remedying  of  any  mistake  that  might  have  happened 
belonged  to  the  Brahman.  He  had  to  know  the  three 
Vedas,  to  follow  in  his  mind  the  whole  sacrifice,  and  to 
advise  the  other  priests  on  all  doubtful  points.  If  it 
was  the  office  of  the  Brahman  to  remedy  mistakes  in  the 
performance  of  the  sacrifice,  and  if,  for  that  purpose,  the 
formulas  of  the  Atharvangiras  were  considered  of  special 
efficacy,  it  follows  that  it  was  chiefly  the  Brahman  who 
had  to  acquire  a knowledge  of  these  formulas.  Now  the 
office  of  the  Brahman  was  contested  by  the  other  classes 
of  priests.  The  Bahvrichas  maintain  that  the  office  of 
Brahman  should  be  held  by  a Bahvricha  (Hotri),  the 
Adhvaryas  maintain  that  it  belongs  to  one  of  their  own 
body,  and  the  Chhandogas  also  preferred  similar  claims. 
It  was  evidently  the  most  important  office,  and  in  man}'^ 
instances,  though  not  always,  it  was  held  by  the  Puro- 
hita,  the  hereditary  family  priest.  Certain  families  also 
claimed  a peculiar  fitness  for  the  office  of  Brahman, 
such  as  the  Vasishthas,  and  Vishvamitras... Because  a 
knowledge  of  the  songs  of  the  Atharvangiras  was  most 
important  to  the  Brahman  or  Purohita;  these  songs  them- 
selves, when  once  admitted  to  the  rank  of  a Veda,  were 
called  the  Veda  of  the  Brahman,  or  the  Brahma-Veda.”‘ 

* Muller’s  History  of  Sanskrit  Literature,  pp.  447-8. 

Dr.  M.  adds,  however,  “ It  is  a common  mistake  in  later  writers  to 
place  the  Atharva  Veda  co-ordinate  with  the  other  Vedas.” 


140 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Tliat  the  Atliarva  Veda  should  magnify  the  Indian 
priesthood,  and  especially  the  Brahman,  as  distinguished 
from  the  Hotri,  Adhvaryu,  etc.,  is  but  natural  on  the 
ground  here  stated.  We  now  refer  to  the  general  infor- 
mation bearing  on  our  inquiries  which  it  contains. 

Both  the  Brahmans  and  the  Kshatra  are  represented  in 
it  as  engaged  in  extolling  Agni.*  In  behalf  of  a Raj^  the 
prayer  is  offered  up  that  he  may  be  the  only  lord  of  his 
country,  and  that  he  may  be  praised  by  the  Visha  (here 
his  subjects  in  general)  throughout  his  realm.!  The 
Kshatra,  Rathakara,  Karmhra,  and  the  Gramani  and 
Suta  established  in  the  service  J of  a Kaja  are  men- 
tioned as  associated  together.  § A Purohita  (family 
priest)  prays  that  the  bravery  and  power  of  the  Kshatra 
whom  he  represents  may  be  undecaying.||  Of  the  Brah- 
man it  is  said,  “ The  Brahman  was  the  first  born  with  ten 
heads  (and)  ten  faces  (that  is,  probably  with  extraordi- 
nary capacities) ; he  was  the  first  that  drank  the  Soma,  he 
made  poison  a (harmless)  juice.”^  The  Shtidra  is  recog- 
nized as  distinct  from  the  A’rya,**  and  also  the  Dasa  from 
the  A'rya,  as  in  the  Rig-Veda.ff  Visbvaraitra,  origi. 
nally  of  the  royal  race,  and  Jamadagni,  are  associated 
with  the  Brahmanic  Vasi.ditha  in  the  protection  of  Mitra 
and  Varuna.  The  supremacy  of  the  Brahman  is  thus 
set  forth  : — “ Th^Brahman  is  lord,  not  the  Rajanya,  nor 

* Atbarva  Veda,  ii.  6.  2,  4.  f Atliarva  Veda,  iii.  4.  1-2. 

t Rajakntah.  § A.  V.  iii.  5.  1-7. 

II  A.  V.  iii.  19.  1-2.  %A.  V.  iv.  6.  1. 

* ^ U'f  'T^r  a . By  it,  (a  particular  medicine)  I see 

everything,  whether  the  Shudra  or  the  Arya,  A.  V.  iv.  20.  8. 

ft  A.  V.  iv.  32.  1. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- NOTICES  IN  THE  ATHARVA  \Ti:DA.114r 

the  Vaishya''*  “ Let  not  the  Bajanya,'”  it  is  enjoined, 
desire  to  eat  the  inedible  cow  of  a Brahman”,!  a claim 
being  thus  put  forth  of  a privilege  for  the  Brahman’s  pet, 
afterwards  extended  by  degrees  to  the  bovine  race  in 
general.  The  Brahman’s  life,  it  is  said,  is  not  to  be 
taken,  and  his  body  is  to  be  loved  like  that  of  Agni.j: 
A curious  passage  coaxing  the  departure  of  a certain  dis- 
ease called  Takman  (first  brought  to  notice  by  Dr.  Roth) 
throws  some  light  on  the  boundaries  of  the  Indo- Aryan 
community  and  its  distant  neighbours.  “ His  (Tak- 
man’s)  abode  are  the  Mujavats,  his  abode  the  Mahd- 
virshas.  As  soon  as  thou  art  born,  O Takman,  thou  so- 
journest  (1)  among  the  Bahlikas.  Go,  Takman,  to  the 
Mujavats,  or  far  way  to  the  Bahlikas.  Choose  the  female 
Shudra  for  food  ; and  shake  her.  Passing  by  our 
friends  ('?),  devour  the  Mahavrishas  and  the  Mujavats. 
We  point  out  to  Takman  these  or  those  foreign  regions. 
Takman  along  with  thy  brother  Balasa,  and  with  thy 
sister  Kasika  (cough),  and  with  thy  nephew  Paman, 
depart  to  that  foreign  people.  We  transfer  T;)kman 
as  a servant  and  as  a treasure,  to  the  Gandharins, 
the  Mujavats,  the  Anyas  and  the  Magadhas”'^  An 
extract  is  given  from  the  hymn  in  the  Rig- Veda  in 
which  Vasishiha  complains  of  being  called  a Ydtudhdna 

* Clil-qt  ^’^51 : A.  V.  V.  17.  9. 

t ITT  mfiw  V rii^  ^it  raEifer  ^?ir?T.  a.  v.  v.  is.  1. 

t A.  V.  V.  18.  6. 

II  A.  V.  V.  22.  5-14.  The  translatioa  of  this  passage  is  from  Muir’s 
Texts,  ii.  3G4.  Mantras  like  this  are  yet  repeated  for  the  banishment 
of  disease  from  India. 


142 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


by  Vishvumitra-*  The  word  Brahmachari  seems  to  be 
used  as  synonimous  with  Brahman,  and  is  set  forth  as  the 
first  l)orn  of  the  Bralima  or  prayer,  Arhich  he  advances-t 
The  Purusha  Sukta  is  given  with  a few  variations  from 
the  form  in  which  it  appears  in  the  Rig- Veda.  The  text 
of  it  which  applies  to  caste  reads  thus  : — “ The  Brahman 
w'as  his  mouth;  the  Rajanya  became  (abhavat)  his  arms  ; 
the  Vaishya  was  his  middle  (madhyam)  ; the  Shudra 
sprung  from  his  feet-”J  Though,  as  w^e  have  already 
shown,  little  stress  is  to  be  laid  on  this  passage,  it  is 
evident  that  the  collection  of  the  Atharva  Veda  was  made 
when  the  caste  system  had  made  considerable  progress. 

2.  We  now  leave  the  Vedas,  and  proceed  to  the  Brdh- 
inaiuis. 

The  Brdhmanas,  which  are  to  be  distinguished  from  the 
JNIantras,  or  Vedic  Texts,  derived  from  the  Sanhitas  or 
collections  of  the  Vethc  Hymns,  are  essentially  consider- 
ed Liturgical  and  Rubiical  Directories  for  the  ceremonies 
to  be  performed  by  the  Brahmans,  from  their  connexion 
with  whom,  or  as  comprehending  the  Brahma  technically 
understood,  they  deiive  their  name.  Them  contents,  how- 
ever, are  really  of  a varied  character.  “ The  difficulty,”  says 
Dr,  Muller,  ofgmug  an  exhaustive  definition  of  what  a 
Brahmana  is,  has  been  felt  by  the  Brahmans  themselves. 
The  name  given  to  this  class  of  literature  does  not  teach 
us  more  than  that  these  works  belonged  to  the  Brahmans, 
They  are  Brahmanic,  i.  e.  theological  tracts,  compiising 

* A.  V.  viii.  4.  14-]  6.  Attention  to  this  passage,  as  found  in  the 
R.  V.,  was  first  drawn  by  Dr.  Mullerin  Bunsen’s  Outlines  of  the  Phil,  of 
Un.  Hist.  i.  p.  344. 

f A.  V.  xi.  5.  4-7. 


1 A.  V.  19.  6-6. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRA'IIMANAS.  143 

the  knowledge  most  valued  by  the  Brahmans,  bearing 
partly  on  the  traditions  and  customs  of  the  people.  They 
profess  to  teach  the  performance  of  the  sacrifice ; but  for 
the  greater  part  they  are  occupied  with  additional  matter; 
with  explanations  and  illustrations  of  things  more  or  less 
distantly  connected  with  their  original  faith  and  their  an- 
cient ceremonial.”  “ There  was  originally  but  one  body  of 
Brahmanas  for  each  of  the  three  Vedas  ; for  the  Rie- 
Veda,  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Bahvrichas,  for  the  Sama- 
Veda  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Chhandogas,  and  for  the 
Yajur-Veda  in  its  two  forms,  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Tait- 
tiiiyas,  and  the  Shatapatha  Brahmana.  These  works  were 
not  written  in  metre,  like  the  Sanhitds,  and  were  therefore 
more  exposed  to  alteration  in  the  course  of  a long  con- 
tinued oral  tradition.  We  possess  the  Bralimana  of  the 
Bahvrichas  in  the  Shakhas  [Memorial  Stems,  or  Schools] 
of  the  Aitareyins  and  the  Kaushitakins.”  * 

“ Tire  Brahmanas,”  Dr.  Muller  continues,  “ represent  no 
doiibt  a most  interesting  phase  m the  history  of  the  In- 
dian mind,  but  judged  by  themselves,  as  literary  produc- 
tions, they  are  more  disappointing.  No  one  would  have 
supposed  that  at  so  early  a period,  and  in  so  primitive  a 
state  of  society,  there  could  have  risen  up  a literature, 
which  for  pedantry  and  downright  absurdity  can  hardly 
be  matched  anywhere.  There  is  no  lack  of  striking 
thoughts,  of  bold  expressions,  of  sound  reasonmg,  and 
curious  traditions  in  these  collections.  But  these  are  only 
like  the  fragments  of  a torso,  like  precious  gems  set  in 
brass  and  lead.  The  general  character  of  these  works  is 
marked  by  shallow  and  insipid  grandiloquence,  by  priestly 

* History  of  Sanscrit  Literature,  pp.  342-346. 


144 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


conceit,  and  antiquarian  pedantry.  It  is  most  important 
to  the  historian  that  he  should  know  how  soon  the  fresh 
and  healthy  growth  of  a nation  can  be  blighted  by  priest- 
craft and  superstition.  It  is  most  important  that  we 
should  know  that  nations  are  liable  to  these  epidemics  in 
then’  youth  as  well  as  in  their  dotage.  These  works 
deserve  to  be  studied  as  the  physician  studies  the  twaddle 
of  idiots,  and  the  raving  of  madmen.  They  will  disclose  to 
a thoughtful  eye  the  ruins  of  faded  grandeiu-,  the  memories 
of  noble  aspirations.  But  let  us  only  try  to  translate  these 
works  into  our  own  language,  and  we  shall  feel  astonished 
that  human  language  and  human  thought  should  ever 
have  been  used  for  such  purposes.”  * These  writings, 
however,  are  still  deserving  of  special  attention.  “ Though 
their  professed  object  is  to  teach  the  sacrifice,  they  allow  a 
much  larger  space  to  dogmatical,  exegetical,  mystical,  and 
philosophical  speculations  than  to  the  ceremonial  itself. 
They  appeal  continually  to  older  authorities.”  f “ The 
Brahmanas  exhibit  the  accumulated  thought  of  a long  suc- 
cession of  early  theologians  and  philosophers.  But  the 
very  earliest  of  these  sages  follow  a train  of  thought  which 
gives  clear  evidence  of  a decaying  religion.”  J “ These 
books  Avill  always  be  to  us  the  most  valuable  sources  for 
tracing  the  beginnings  of  thought  on  divine  things;  and,  at 
the  same  time,  sources  from  Avhich  we  may  draw  the  most 
varied  information  regarding  the  conceptions  on  which  the 
entire  system  of  worship,  as  well  as  the  social  and  hierar- 
chical order  of  India  are  founded.”  ^ 

History  of  Sanscrit  Literature,  pp.  389-390. 

f Ib.  p.  328.  J Ib.  pp.  429. 

§ Dr.  Koth’s  Introduction  to  the  Nirukta,  quoted  in  Muir’s  Texts, 
p.  193. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  145 

At  the  time  of  the  composition  of  the  Brahmanas,  which 
may  be  stated  as  extending  from  800  to  600  B.  C-, 
the  collection  of  the  three  olden  Vedas  was  doubtless 
formed.  The  following  passage  from  the  Aitareya  Brdli- 
mana,  which  is  Avorthy  of  notice  in  sev  eral  particulars,  esta- 
blishes this  fact,  as  far  as  that  work  at  least  is  concerned. 
“ Prajapati  desired  that  for  the  being  of  Praja  (offspring) 
there  should  be  done  (Avhat  Avas  required).  He,  setting  a 
toiling,  performed  tapa  (toil).  After  performing  topa,  he 
created  these  Worlds — the  Earth,  the  Medial  Expanse  f :in~ 
tarikhsha),  (and)  HeaA'en  (Diva).  HaA'ing  performed 
tapa  for  these  AA  orlds,  he  again  performed  tapa,  and  the  three 
Lights  were  produced — Fire  (Agni)  from  earth,  Wind 
(Vayu)  from  the  expanse,  and  the  Sun  (Aditya)  from  the 
lieaA  en.  Having  performed  tapa  for  these  lights,  he  again 
performed  tapa,  and  the  three  Vedas  Avere  produced ; — the 
Rig  Veda  sprung  from  fire  ; the  Yajur-Veda,  from  AA'ind  ; 
and  the  Saina-Veda  from  the  sun.  Having  performed 
tapa  for  these  Vedas,  he  again  performed  tapa,  and 
the  three  Shukras  AAere  produced.  JBhii  was  made 
from  the  Rig- Veda  ; Bhuva,  from  the  Yajur-Veda,  and 
Sva  from  the  Saina  Veda.  Having  performed  tapa  for 
these  Shukras,  he  again  performed  tapa,  (and)  the  three 
Varnas  AA'ere  made — «kar,  nkar,  »<nkar.  From  the  combi- 
nation of  these  (OM»,  quasi  Aum)  Avas  produced.”*  The 

* As  this  is  one  of  the  earliest  accounts  of  Creation  according 
to  Hindu  notions,  we  may  give  the  Sanskrit  of  this  passage  : — 
niri'^^iT'irf^JTrrJir?!  h irr^^Resrrr 

rt\  C 

-41  ^ 

19 


146 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


collections  of  the  Vedas  are  here  distinctively  mentioned, 
tliouoli  a very  different  orio-in  is  attributed  to  these  works 

O *•  O 

from  any  mentioned  by  the  Rishis  themselves,  the  veri- 
table composers  of  the  \ edic  Hymns,  who  indite  from 
their  own  mental  impulse,  or  ask  the  assistance  of  the  gods 
in  their  laudatory  and  supplicatory  compositions.  The 
triliteral,  and  afterwards  mystical,  syllable  AUM,  OM, 
seems  here  derived  from  the  initial  letters — a of  Agni,  w 
(the  vocal  representative  of  v)  of  Vdxju,  and  m of  Mitra 
(the  midday  sun,  the  equivalent  of  Aditya).  Of  the  S/mJc- 
ras,  with  OM  prefixed  to  the  Gayatri  verse  of  the  Rig- 
Veda  (3  asht.  10th  varg)  bhu.  means  earth,  hhiiva  sky, 
and  svci,  heaven.  All  this  technical  trifling  (and  it  was 
afterwards  greatly  extended)  betokens  degeneration. 

The  Brahmans,  as  a pre-eminent  class,  are  particularly 
brought  to  notice,  in  the  Aitareya  Brdhmana,  the  princi- 
pal notices  of  which  bearing  on  Caste  we  shall  now  in- 
troduce. 

In  the  first  chapter  of  the  first  Panchika  of  this  work, 
the  following  passages  occur  in  connexion  with  the  D'lkh- 
shd,  or  sacrifice  of  the  new  birth,  when  a man  is  admitted 
for  the  first  time  to  the  use  of  sacrifice  : — “ He  Avho  wishes 
for  beauty  and  for  wisdom  (brahmavarchasaj , let  him  use 

fiTifritr  w'Tl  ^?rr'^'iTr?T 

*Pfrr- 

rcfr  Ait.  Brah.  V.  5.  Author’s  MS. 

No.  1.  fol.  61  ; No.  2.  fol.  148.  The  first  of  these  MSS.  is  a trophy 
of  peace,  from  a converted  Biahman  ; the  second  a trophy  of  wai’, 
Avith  other  Vedic  works  part  of  the  plunder  of  the  Bombay  troops 
at  the  late  affairs  of  Bet  and  Dvaraka,  presented  to  me  by  my  friend 
Dr.  John  Grant  Nicolson. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  147 


the  two  Gavatn  verses  of  the  Svishtakrit.  The  Gayatrl  is 
beau  tv,  full  of  Avisdom.  He  who  knowing  this  uses  the  two 

Gayatns  becomes  possessed  of  beauty  and  wisdom 

Let  him  who  desires  strength,  use  the  tAA’o  Trishtubhs. 
Trishtubh  is  strength,  which  is  vigour  and  power.  He  Avho 
knowing  this  uses  (the)  two  Trishtubhs,  becomes  strong, 
vigorous  and  powerful.  Let  him  who  desii’es  cattle,  use 
(the)  two  Jagatis,  Cattle  is  Jagati-like,  He  who  knowing 
this  uses  the  two  Jagatis  becomes  rich  in  cattle.”*  In  the 
fifth  chapter  of  the  same  section,  the  Brahman  is  com- 
manded to  use  the  Gayatri  for  wisdom  and  glory;  the 
Rajanya,  the  Trishtubh,  for  sjilendour  and  bravery ; and 
the  Vaishya,  the  Jagati,  for  the  obtaiument  of  cattle. 
The  characteristics  of  the  three  classes  of  the  ATyas  are 
here,  for  the  first  time,  distinctively  recognized,  f 

In  the  second  section  of  the  Brahmana  now  referred  to,| 
a party  denominated  Kavasha  Ailusha,  is  represented  as 
expelled  from  the  sacrifice  as  a Dasyaputra,  and  re-ad- 
mitted only  by  the  special  favour  of  the  gods,  although 
certain  hymns  in  the  Rig- Veda  are  ascribed  to  him  as 
then  Rishi  m the  Anukramanika  (or  Index)  of  that  Veda. 
The  name  Kavasha  appears  to  me  to  be  Iranian,  and  is 
similar  to  one  found  among  the  Parsis  of  the  present  day.^ 

* This  chapter  of  the  Brahmana  is  translated  by  Dr.  Max  Muller 
(from  whom  I borrow  these  sentences)  with  his  usual  life  and  elegance, 
in  his  History  of  Ancient  Sanskrit  Literature  pp.  390-405. 

I Author’s  MS.  No.  1 fol.  9,  of  Panchika  i.  Several  other  similar  pas- 
sages occur  in  this  Brahmana. 

I Ait.  Brahmana,  ii.  19. 

§ In  Kavas  (ji).  The  Zand  name  is  Kava  iiq.  This  in  Sanskrit 
(in  the  adjective  form)  as  shown  by  Dr.  Roth  (Zeit.  D.  M.  G.  ii. 
p.  226-7)  is  Kavya  Ushash. 


148 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  probability  is  that  when  the  Hymns  of  Kavaslia  were 
composed,  no  exception  Avas  taken  against  them  because 
of  his  race,  tlie  caste-system  having  not  been  then  fully 
developed,  while  in  the  age  of  the  Brahmana,  it  was 
thought  expedient  to  invent  a legend,  or  fiction,  to  support 
that  system. 

In  the  thhd  Pancbika,  the  Brahman  is  spoken  of  as 
standing  in  the  relationship  of  Brihaspati,  the  Purohita  of 
the  gods.* 

In  the  seAeiith  Pancbika,  there  is  an  important  passage 
which  is  thus  noticed  by  Dr.  jM idler. — “We  find  several 
instances  Avhere  priests,  if  once  employed  by  a royal  family, 
claim  to  be  employed  ahvays.  When  .Tanamejaya  Parik- 
shita  ventured  to  perform  a sacrifice  AA'ithout  the  Kash- 
yapas,  he  was  forced  by  the  Asitamrigas,  a family  of  the 
Kashyapas  to  employ  them  again.  When  Vishvantara 
Saushadmana  drove  away  the  Shyaparnas  from  his  sacri- 
fice, he  was  prevailed  upon  by  Rama  hlargaveya  to  call 
them  back”.'!'  All  this  sIioaas  that  the  priestly  office  was 
of  great  importance  in  the  ancient  times  of  India. 

In  the  seventh  pancbika  and  seventh  chapter  of  this 
Aitareya  Brahmana,  there  is  a remarkable  legend  connect- 

Aitareya  Br.  iii.  2.  17. 

Ait.  Br.  vii.  5.  27.  “ ilargaveya,”  says  Dr.  Muller,  (Hist,  of 

S.  Lit.  p.  487)  “ is  a difficirlt  name.  It  may  be  simply,  as  Sayana 
says,  the  son  of  his  mother  IMrigii ; but  Mrigu  may  be  a variety  of 
Bhrigu,  and  thus  confirm  Lassen’s  conjecture  that  this  Eama  is  Eama, 
the  son  of  Jamadagni,  of  the  race  of  Bhrigu,  commonly  called  Parashu- 
rama.  Cf.  Weber,  Ind.  Stud.  i.  216.”  In  this  espousement  of  the 
cause  of  these  Purohitas,  we  perhaps  see  the  origin  of  the  exaggerated 
legends  of  the  destruction  of  the  Kshatriyas  by  Parashurama. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAHMANAS.  149 


ed  with  Havishclmiidra,  the  son  of  Vedhas  of  the  Royal 
family  of  Ikshvaku,  which,  although  of  a very  wild  charac- 
ter, throws  a good  deal  of  light  on  the  state  of  ancient 
A'ryan  society.  It  has  been  noticed  of  late  years  by 
several  orientalists,  and  has  long  been  effectively  applied 
by  myself  in  my  intercourse  with  the  Brahmans  in  illus- 
tration of  the  gradual  growth  of  caste  feeling  in  India. 
While  referring  to  it,  both  as  found  in  the  original  and  as 
quoted  and  translated  by  Dr.  ]\Iax  M tiller,  we  would 
note  what  connected  with  it  appears  to  hear  on  this 
development  of  caste.  Harishchandra,  though  he  had 
a hundred  wives,  had  no  son.  On  the  advantages  of  a son 
having  been  propounded  to  him  in  ten  verses  by  Narada 
(a  sage  often  brought  to  notice  in  Indian  dialogues,)*  he 
applied,  as  dwected,  to  Varuna  for  one,  promising  if  his 
wishes  were  realized  to  sacrifice  him  to  that  deity.  A son 
was  born  to  him  called  Rohita.  With  varying  pretences,  as- 
sented to  by  V aruna,  he  got  repeated  postponements  of  the 
engagement  till  the  son  w as  ten  days  old,  till  his  first  set 
of  teeth  came,  till  these  teeth  fell  out,  till  he  got  new  teeth, 
and  till  as  a Kshatriya  he  was  girt  with  armour.  When 
the  father  at  length  consented  to  fulfill  his  promise,  the 
son  took  his  bow,  went  to  the  forest,  and  lived  there  for  a 
year,  when,  on  his  father  having  been  afflicted  with  di-opsy 
by  Varuna,  he  retimied  to  the  village.  Indra,  in  the  form 
of  a Brahman,  having  advised  him  again  to  w ander  about 
in  the  forest,  he  did  this  for  a second,  a tim’d,  a fourth,  a 
fifth,  and  a sixth  year  on  the  repeated  advice  of  this  God, 

* In  stating  the  advantages  of  a son,  a daughter  is  declared  to  he 
an-object-of-pity— f 


150 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


following  his  annual  visits  to  the  village.  * When  he  was 
travelling  in  the  sixth  year,  “He  met  in  the  forest  a 
starving  Rishi,  Ajigarta,  the  son  of  Suvavasa.  He  had 
three  sons — Shunahpuccha,  Shiinahshepha,  and  Shun- 
olangula.  Rohita  said  to  him  : “ Rishi,  I give  you  a hun- 
dred cows,  I ransom  myself  ^vith  one  of  those  thy  sons.” 
The  Father  embraced  the  elder,  and  said,  “Not  him.” 
“ Nor  him,”  said  the  mother,  embracing  the  yomigest. 
And  the  parents  bargained  to  give  Shunahsliepha,  the  mid- 
dle son.  Rohita  gave  a hundi-ed,  took  him,  and  went  from 
the  forest  to  the  village.  And  he  came  to  his  father,  and 
said:  “Father,  Death!  I ransom  myself  by  him.”  The 
father  Avent  to  Yarima,  and  said,  “ I shall  sacrifice  this 
man  to  you.”  Varum  said,  “ Yes,  /or  a Brahman  is  bet- 
ter than  a Kshatriya.”  And  he  told  liim  to  perfonn  a 
Rajasuya  sacrifice,  f Harishchandra  took  him  to  be  the 
A'ictim  for  the  day,  when  the  Soma  is  spent  to  the  gods. 
Vishvamitra  [a  Kshatriya  Avho,  it  is  said,  by  his  know- 
ledge and  practice  forced  himself  into  the  acknowledg- 
ed profession  of  the  BrahmanhoodJ]  was  his  Hotri- 
priest ; Jamadagni,  his  Adhvaryu  priest;  Vasi.«htha  [a 
Brahman  with  whom  VishAamitra  had  oft  contend- 

® On  the  fifth  occasion  Indra  uses  tliis  argument  : — “ A man  who 
is  asleep  is  like  the  Kali  (age) ; a man  who  is  awake  is  like  the  Dvdpara; 
a man  who  is  arisen  is  the  Tretd ; a man  who  is  travelling  is  like 
the  Krita.  Travel ! Travel ! ” Dr.  Muller  correctly  says,  “ This  is 
one  of  the  earliest  allusions  to  the  four  ages  of  the  world.”  Two  others 
we  have  already  noticed.  See  above,  p.  131. 

f A great  monarchical  sacrifice,  at  which  in  addition  to  the  religiotts 
sendees,  the  chieftains  assembled  to  express  their  fealty. 


f See  before,  p.  104. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  151 


etl],  the  Brahmd  ;*  Ayasya,,  the  Ud(jQ.tri  priest.  When 
Shunahshepha  had  been  prepared,  they  found  nobody  to 
bind  him  to  the  sacrificial  post.  And  Ajigarta,  the  son 
of  Suyavasa,  said,  ‘ Give  me  another  hundred,  and  I shall 
hind  him.’  They  gave  him  another  hundred,  and  he 
bound  him.  And  Ajigarta,  the  son  of  Sdyavasa,  said : 
‘ Give  me  another  hundred,  and  I shall  kill  him.’  They 
gave  him  another  hnndred,  and  he  came  whetting  his 
sword.  Then  Shunahshepha  thought.  ‘ They  will  readi- 
ly kill  me,  as  if  I was  not  a man.  Death  ! I shall  pray  to 
the  gods.’  He  addressed  himself  first  to  Prajapati,  who 
refeiTed  him  to  Agni,  who  referred  him  to  Savitri,  who  re- 
ferred him  to  Varnna,  who  referred  him  to  Agni,  who 
referred  him  to  the  Vishve-Devah,  who  referred  him  to 
Tndra,  who  referred  him  to  the  Ashvinan  (two  Ashvius,) 
who  said  to  him,  “ Praise  Ushas  (the  Dawn),  and  we 
set  thee  free.”  Thus  he  praised  Ushas  with  three  verses. 

While  each  Averse  was  delivered,  his  fetters  were  loosed, 
and  Harischandra’s  belly  greAv  smaller,  and  Avhen  the  last 
verse  Avas  said  his  fetters  Avere  loosed,  and  Harischandra 
Avell  again.”  With  this  result  the  priests  Avere  so  Avell 
satisfied  that  they  Avere  content  to  act  for  the  day  under 
the  direction  of  Shunahshepha.  He  invented  the  cere- 
mony called  the  Anjahsava.  “ AfterAvards  he  earned  out 
all  the  things  belonging  to  the  Avabritha  ceremony,  em- 
ploying tAvo  verses,  and  made  Harishchandra  go  to  the 
A'shavaniya  fire  with  another  hymn.”  What  folloAved  re- 
quires particular  attention.  “ When  the  sacrifice  had  thus 

Dr.  Muller  renders  this  by  the  equivalent  Brahman,  Avhich  word, 
unless  when  otherwise  used  in  the  Sanskrit  authorities,  it  may  be  pro- 
per to  reserve  for  the  designation  of  the  caste  so  called. 


152 


WIIAT  CASTE  IS, 


been  performed  Shunahsliepha  sat  down  on  the  lap  of 
Vislivamitra  [in  furtherance  of  his  adoption  as  his  son]. 
Ajigarta,  the  son  of  Suyavasa  said  : ‘ Rishi,  give  me  back 
my  son.’  Vislivamitra  said,  ‘No  ; for  the  gods  have  given 
him  to  me.’  He  became  Devarata  (Theodotus)  the  son 
of  Vislivamitra ; and  the  memhers  of  the  families  of  Kapila 
and  Babhru  hecame  his  relations.  Ajigarta,  the  son  of 
Shyavasa,  said  : ‘ Come  thou,  O son,  we,  both  and  thy 
mother  call  thee  away.’  Ajigarta,  the  son  of  Suyavasa, 
said  : ‘ I'hou  art  hy  hirth  an  Angirasa,  the  son  of  Ajigar- 
ta, celebrated  as  a poet.  O Rishi,  go  not  away  from  the  line 
of  thy  grandfather,  come  back  to  me.’  Shunahsliepha 
replied,  ‘ They  have  seen  thee  with  a knife  in  thy  hand, 
a thing  that  men  have  never  found  even  amongst  Shtidras ; 
thou  hast  taken  three  hundred  cows  for  me,  0 Angiras.’ 
Ajigarta,  the  son  of  Suyavasa,  s^id  : ‘ J\Iy  old  son  it  grieves 
me  for  the  wrong  that  I have  done  ; I throw  it  away,  may 
these  hundred  cows  belong  to  thee.’  Shunahsliepha  re- 
plied : ‘ Who  once  commits  a sin  will  commit  also  another 

sin;  thou  Avilt  not  abstain  from  the  Avays  of  Shudras; 
Avhat  thou  hast  committed  cannot  be  redressed.  “ Cannot 
be  redressed,”  Vislivamitra  repeated.  “Dreadful  stood 
the  son  of  Suyavasa  Avhen  he  Aveut  to  kill  Avith  his  knife. 
Be  not  his  son,  come  and  be  my  son.”  “ Shnnahshepba 
said  : ‘ Tell  ns  thyself,  O son  of  a king,  thus  as  thou 
art  known  to  us,  how  I,  who  am  an  A'ngirasa,  shall  become 
thy  son.’  Vislivamitra  replied  : ‘ Thou  shalt  be  the  eldest 
of  my  sons,  thy  ofi’spring  shall  be  the  first,  thou  shalt 
receive  the  heritage  Avhich  the  gods  have  given  me,  thus 
I address  thee.’  Shunahsliepha  replied:  ‘May  the 

leader  of  the  Bharatas  say  so,  in  the  presence  of  his 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIBIANAS.  153 

agreeing  sons,  for  friendship’s  and  happiness’s  sake,  that 
I shall  become  thy  son.’  Then  Vislivamitra  addressed 
his  sons  : ‘ Hear  me,  Madhuchliandas,  Rishablia,  Renu, 

Ash  taka,  and  all  ye  brothers  that  you  are,  believe  in 
seniority.’  Tljis  Vishvamitra  had  a hundred  sons,  fifty 
older  than  Madhuchliandas,  and  fifty  younger.  The 
elder  did  not  like  this,  and  Vishvamitra  pronounced  a 
curse  upon  them,  that  they  should  become  outcastes. 
They  became  Andhras,  Pundras,  Sliabaras,  ^Pulindas, 
Mutihas  and  many  other  outcaste  tribes,  so  that  the  de- 
scendants of  Vishvamitra  became  the  worst  of  the  Dasyus. 
But  Madhuchliandas,  together  with  the  other-fifty  sons^ 
said  : ‘ What  our  father  tells  us,  in  that  we  abide ; we 
place  thee  before  us  and  follow  thee.’  Wlien  Yishvami- 
tra  heard  this,  he  praised  his  sons  and  said  : ‘ You  sons 

will  have  good  children  and  cattle,  because  you  have 
accepted  my  will,  and  have  made  me  rich  in  brave  sons. 
You,  descendants  of  Gathin,*  are  to  be  honoured  by  all, 
you  brave  sons,  led  by  Devarata ; he  will  be  to  you 
good  counsel.  You,  descendants  of  Kusika,  follow  De- 
varata, he  is  your  hero,  he  will  give  you  my  riches, 
and  whatever  knowledge  I possess.  You  are  wise,  all 

* Puniravas. 

Jahnu. 

X Gatliiu  Kausika  (Bhrigus). 

Jainadagni  X Eenuka. 

Parashurama. 

20 


154 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ye  sons  of  Vislivamiti’a  together  ; you  are  rich,  you 
stood  to  uphold  Devarata,  and  to  mako  him  your  eldest, 
descendants  of  Gathin.  Devarata*  (Shunahshepha)  is 
mentioned  as  a Rishi  of  both  families,  in  the  chiefdom 
of  the  Jahnus,  and  in  the  divine  Veda  of  the  Gathins.”’t 

* “ This  last  verse,  which  is  also  attributed  to  Vishvamitra,  ought 
to  be  taken  rather  as  a recapitulation  of  the  whole  story.  Jahnu  is  one 
of  the  ancestors  of  Vishvamitra,  belonging  to  the  lunar  Dynasty ; 
Gathin  is  considered  as  Vishvamitra’s  father.  The  commentator  gives 
Jahnu  as  a Rishi  of  the  family  of  Ajigarta,  which  seems  better  to  agree 
with  the  Vedic  story.” 

t Muller’s  History  of  S.  L.  p.  408-419. 

The  legend  or  story  of  Shunahshepha  as  here  given  in  the  Aitareya 
Brahmana  has  been  changed  to  a considerable  extent  in  later  Indian 
works,  as  has  been  summarily  noticed  by  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson.  (Rig- 
Veda,  i.  jjp.  59-60.)  “The  story  of Shunahshepas,  or  as  usually  written, 
Shunalishephas,  has  been  for  some  time  known  to  Sanskrit  students 
through  the  version  of  it  presented  in  Ramayana,  b.  i.  ch.  61,  Schle- 
gel : 63,  Gorresio.  He  is  there  called  the  son  of  the  Rishi  Richika, 
and  is  sold  for  a hundred  cows  by  his  father  to  Amban'sha,  king  of 
Ai/odhpd,  as  a victim  for  a human  sacrifice;  on  the  road,  he  comes  to 
the  lake  Ptislilcara,  where  he  sees  Vishvamitra,  and  implores  his  suc- 
cour, and  learns  from  him  a prayer,  by  the  repetition  of  which  at  the 
stake,  Indra  is  induced  to  come  and  set  him  free.  It  is  obvious  that 
tliis  story  has  been  derived  from  the  Veda,  for  Vishvamitra  teaches  him, 
according  to  Schlegel’s  text,  two  Gdthds,  according  to  Gorresio’s,  a 
mantra ; but  the  latter  also  states,  that  he  propitiated  Indra  by  Richas  ; 
mantras  of  the  Rig-Veda  (Rigbhis-tushtava  devendram),  vol.  i.  p.  249. 
Manu  also  alludes  to  the  story  (10,  105),  Avhereit  is  said  that  Ajigartta 
incurred  no  guilt  by  giving  up  his  son  to  be  sacrificed,  as  it  was  to 
preserve  himself  and  fiimily  from  perishing  with  hunger.... The  Bhaga- 
vat  follows  the  Aitareya  and  Mann,  in  terming  Shunahshepas  the  son 
of  Aj  igartta,  and  names  the  Rdjd  also  Ilan’schandra.  In  the  Vishnu 
Purdna,  he  is  called  the  son  of  Vishvdimitra,  and  is  termed  also  Deva- 
rdta,  or  god-given;  but  this  relates  to  subsequent  occurrences,  noticed 
in  like  manner  by  the  other  authorities,  in  which  he  becomes  the 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIBIANAS.  155 


Tlie  pre-eminence  of  the  Brahman  to  the  Kshatriya  is 
here  set  forth  by  the  alleged  greater  acceptability  to  the 
gcds  as  a sacrifice  of  a Brdhman  than  a Kshatruju  ; and 
by  the  adoption  of  the  Brahman,  (said  to  have  been  set 
apart  for  sacrifice)  by  Vishvamitra.  A Brahmanical 
disparagement  of  Vishvamitra  and  his  consociates  is  also 
intended  by  the  absurd  allegation  that  the  aboriginal 
tribes  of  the  Andhras,  Pundras,  S/iabaras,  Pidindas,  and 
Miitibas  were  descended  from  tliem.*  These  tribes, 
belonging  principally  to  the  South  of  India,  appear  from 
the  notice  taken  of  them,  to  have  been  known  to  the 
A'ryas  at  the  time  of  the  composition  of  the  Aitareya 
Brahmana,  while  they  were  not  as  yet  gained  over  to 
Brahmanism.  The  Andhras  were  the  inhabitants  of  the 
province  which  was  afterwards  denominated  Telingana 
the  Pundras  are  supposed  to  have  occupied  the  Western 
Provinces  of  Bengal ; J the  Shabaras  are  placed  by  Ptol- 
emy near  the  (mouths  of  the) -Ganges  ;§  and  the  Pnlindas 
are  located  by  Ptolemy  along  the  banks  of  the  Narmada 
to  the  frontiers  of  Larice,  but  in  tbe  Indian  literature 
they  occur  in  different  positions  from  the  Indus  to  the 
South. 11 

adopted  son  of  Vishvamitra,  and  the  eldest  of  all  his  sons  ; such  of 
whom  as  refused  to  acknowledge  his  seniority  being  cursed  to  become 
the  founders  of  various  barbarian  and  outeaste  races.  Vishimnitra's 
share  in  the  legend  may  possibly  intimate  his  opposition,  and  that  of 
some  of  his  disciples,  to  human  sacrifices.” 

* Compare  this  with  Manu,  pp.  43-45.  See  above  pp.  59-60. 
f Wilson's  V.  P.  p.  190.  f;  Ib.  p.  190. 

§ Ptol.  Geo.  vii.  Ed.  Berth,  p.  205. 

H Ptol.  Geo.  vii.  Ed.  Berth,  p.  203.  See  also  Mahabharata, 
Bhishma  Parva,  adh.  6.  Cal.  Ed.  ii.  p.  342-344. 


156 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  relations  of  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  Yaisliya,  and 
Shudra  to  sacrifice  (yajna)  and  to  one  another  in  a 
religious  point  of  view,  are  mentioned  with  particularity 
towards  the  conclusion  of  the  seventh  panchika  of  the 
Aitareya  JBrahraana.  “ Prajapati,”  it  is  there  said,  “ creat- 
ed sacrifice.  After  the  sacrifice  was  created,  the  Brahma 
and  the  Kshatra  Were  created.  To  both  the  Brahma  and 
the  Kshatra  offsprings  were  created — (called)  htitad  and 
ah  lit  (id /'  That  which  was  from  the  Brahma  was  called 
hut  (id,  and  that  which  was  from  the  Kshatra  was  called 
ahutcid.  Tlie  Brahman  was  the  hutdd  offspring;  and 
the  Rdjanija,  the  Vaishya,  and  the  Shudra  belonged  to 
the  ahiitdd.  Bv  them  the  sacrifice  beo;an  to  be  conduct- 
cd.  The  Brahma  and  Kshatra  came  with  their  instru- 
ments. The  Brahman  came  with  the  instruments  of  the 
Brahma ; and  the  Kshatriya  came  with  the  sacrificial 
instruments  of  the  Kshatra.  The  instruments  of  the 
Brahma  were  the  instruments  of  the  sacrifice,  and  the 
instruments  of  the  Kshatra  were  the  horse,  a chariot, 
the  coat  of  mail,  the  arrow  and  the  bow.  The  Ksha- 
triya was  not  permitted  to  enter,  and  seeing  that  he 
could  not  find  entrance  he  returned-  The  Brahmans 
stood  to  oppose  the  entrance  of  others.  The  Brahmans 
came  with  their  instruments.  Therefore  the  sacrifice  is 
established  in  the  Brahmans.  Afterwards  the  Ksha- 
triyas  came,  and  asked  to  be  called  for  the  sacrifice.  Then 
the  Brahmans  said  to  them,  ‘ If  you  wish  to  come  to  the 
sacrifice,  you  must  jmt  aside  your  own  instruments,  and 
become  like  Brahmans,  (hrahmonorupeaa)  and  then 

* Hutdd,  (from  huta  and  ad)  means  having  the  legal  capacity  of 
eating  what  is  offered  in  sacrifice,  and  ahiitdd,  not  having  this  capacity. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  157 

come  to  tlie  sacrifice.  The  Ksliatriyas  said,  ‘Beit  so.’ 
After  putting  aside  their  own  instruments,  and  taking 
the  instruments  of  tlie  Brahma,  they  liecame  like  Brah- 
mans, and  entered  the  sacrifice.”*  The  progress  of  the 
professions  and  pretensions  of  the  professional  priesthood, 
and  their  ultimate  establishment  of  their  peculiar  pri- 
vileges are  evident  from  this  passage.  The  Brahmans,  it 
teaches,  were  acting  in  their  own  peculiar  character  when 
they  conducted  sacrifice,  while  the  Kshtriyas  when  they 
sacrificed  had  to  lay  aside  their  own  recognized  character 
aud  its  emblems,  and  assume  that  of  the  Brahmans.  The 
sacrifice  is  establislied  in  the  Brahmans ; and,  with  the 
enlargement  and  complication  of  its  ritual,  the  Braliman 
is  more  necessary  than  ever.  Sacrifice  is  the  highest 
interest  (the  first  created  object)  of  the  community;  and 
the  Brahman,  the  sacrifice!’,  is  the  head  of  the  community. 
He  has  merely  to  throiv  difficulties  in  the  way  of  the 
Kshatriya’s  sacrificing,  to  secure  for  himself  all  that  his 
heart  can  desire.  Let  a Kshatriya,  when  he  becomes 
a yajainana,  (the  institutor  of  a sacrifice)  employ  a 
Brahman  Let  the  Brahman  give  liis  blessing  to  the 
Kshatriya.:}: 

This  is  accompanied,  in  the  Aitareya  Brahmana,  with 
notices  of  the  manner  in  which  the  Brahman  is  to  con- 
duct the  highest  rites  in  behalf  of  a king  at,  and  after,  the 
ceremonies  of  his  inauguration.  But  on  this  matter  we 
may  be  content  with  some  of  the  notices  taken  of  it  by 

* Aitareya  Brahman  of  R.  V.  vii.  14.  19. 

t Tr^rs’^fr. 

I In  illustration  of  these  two  last  remarks,  see  Ait.  Brah.  vii.  53.4. 


158 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


the  learned  and  accurate  Dr.  Goldstlicker.  In  connec- 
tion with  the  Punarahhisheka,  the  King  is  made  to  say, 
“ ‘ I firmly  stand  on  heaven  and  earth,  1 firmly  stand 
on  exhaled  and  inhaled  air,  I firml}'^  stand  on  food 
and  drink ; on  what  is  Brahman,  on  what  is  Ksha- 
triya,  on  these  three  worlds  stand  I firmly.’  He  then 
descends,  sits  down  on  the  ground  with  his  face  towards 
the  East,  utters  thrice  the  words.  Adoration  to  Avhat  is 
Brahmana,  and  offers  a gift  to  a Brahman  ; the  object 
of  this  gift  is  the  obtainment  of  victory  in  general,  of 
victory  everywhere,  of  victory  over  strong  and  weak 
enemies  and  of  complete  victory  •,  and  his  threefold 
expression  of  adoration  to  what  is  a Brahman  implies 
that  a kingdom  prospers,  and  has  valiant  men  when  it  is 
under  the  controul  of  the  Brahmans,  and  that  a valiant 
son  will  be  born  to  him.”  “ A king  for  whom  these 
(certain  prescribed)  libations  are  made  to  Indra  in  the 
indicated  manner  becomes  free  from  disease,  cannot  be 
injured  by  enemies,  is  exempt  from  poverty,  everywhere 
protected  against  danger,  and  thus  becomes  victorious 
in  all  quarters,  and  after  death  estal)lished  in  ludra’s 
heaven.”  “ Priests  who  understand  well  how  to  per- 
form the  whole  rite  will  raise  the  king  to  an  exalted 
position  ; those  on  the  contrary  who  are  ignorant  of  the 
manner  in  which  it  is  to  be  performed,  will  bring  him 
into  perdition.”  In  connexion  with  the  simple  ahhisheka. 
Dr.  Goldstlicker  says,  “The  ceremony  having  been  com- 
pleted, the  king  has  to  make  a present  to  the  inaugur- 
ating priest,  viz.  a thousand  (Xishkas)  of  gold,  a field 
and  cattle  ; but  this  amount  seems  merely  to  constitute 
a minimum  acknowledgment  of  the  exertions  of  the 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAHMANAS.  159 

priest ; for  the  text  of  the  Aitare3^a  adds,  that  they  say  a 
king’  should  give  innumerable  illimited  presents,  since  a 
king  is  illimited  (in  Avealth),  and  thej^  will  obtain  illi- 
mited benefit  to  himself ; and  the  author  of  the  Altar. 
Br.  seems  rather  inclined  to  adopt  the  latter  opinion, 
for  amongst  the  instanees  he  gives  of  royal  inaugurations 
Avhich  have  been  performed  in  this  fashion,  he  does  not 
mention  those  at  which  the  Brahmans  have  received  the 
‘ limited’  gifts,  but  tells  e.  g.  that  Adamaija,  the  son  of 
Atri,  promised  to  his  priests  ten  thousand  elephants  and 
ten  thousand  female  slaves,  and  gave  each  of  the  sons  of 
that  priest  at  the  noon-oblation  two  thousand  cows  out  of 
a thousand  millions  ; that  Anga  gave  his  priest  eighty- 
thousand  young  white  horses  fit  for  carrying  burdens  on 
their  back,  etc.  ; that  Bharata  distributed  in  Maslmara 
a hundred  and  seven  thousand  millions  of  black 
elephants  with  white  tusks,  and  decked  with  gold 
etc.  etc.”*  In  all  this  legendry  of  the  Aitareya  Brah- 
mana  of  the  Rig-Yeda,  the  Brahman,  it  must  be  admit- 
ted, occupies  a pretty  high  position. 

The  position  of  the  Brahman  is  not  of  an  humbler 
character  in  the  Taittlriya  Brahmana,  of  the  Black  Yajur 
Veda  to  which  we  now  turn. 

In  this  Brahmana,  the  three  fundamental  A'ryan 
castes  are  mentioned  in  connexion  with  certain  distinctive 
privileges.  Indra  is  there  represented  as  assuming  the 
form  of  a Brdhman  to  carry  off  an  Istika,  or  sacrificial 
brick  for  the  purpose  of  preventing  two  sacrificing  Rak- 
shasas,  Kala  and  Kanj  (afterwards  called  the  heavenly 

* See  Golclstiicker’s  Dictionary,  Sanskrit  and  English,  under 
AhTiisheka. 


160 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


hounds  Urna  ami  NahJia),  from  succeeding  in  their  ser- 
vice and  getting  to  heaven  (suvarga).  In  connexion 
with  the  same  legend  or  fable,  it  thus  enjoined  : “ The 
Bvdhman  ought  to  commence  bis  sacrifice  in  the  Vascm- 
ta  Ritu  (or  spring  season).  That  season  belongs  to  the 
Brahman.  Let  him  sacrifice  in  his  own  season,  and  he 
becomes  a Brahmavarchas,  endowed  with  the  knowdedge 

of  Brahma,  and  that  season  is  the  chief Let  the  Rdja- 

nga  sacrifice  in  the  Grishina  (hot  season).  Grishma  is 
the  season  of  the  Rajanya.  Let  him  sacrifice  in  Grishma* 
and  he  will  become  an  Indrayavi  (one  powerful  like 
Indra).  Let  the  Vaishya  sacrifice  in  Shara  (the 
autumn).  Shara  is  the  season  of  the  Vaishya.”*  “ Let 
the  Brahman  perform  the  fire  sacrifice  in  the  Gayatri 
measure.  The  Gayatri  measure  is  the  Brahman’s.  Each 
has  his  own  measure  for  the  acquisition.  The  Trishtup 

(measure)  is  that  of  the  Rdjanya the  Jagati  is  that  of 

the  Vaisya.”'\  A Brdhman  householder  returning  home 
from  a journey  has  to  sacrifice  in  the  nakshatraof  Rohini.j: 
The  Brdhman  is  spoken  of  as  of  the  elass  of  the  gods,  and 
iheShudra  as  of  that  of  the  Asuras,  Avhile  quarrelling  about 
a skin  ;§  and  the  Brahman  gets  the  victory  by  means  of 
a particular  mantra.  The  Vajapeya||  sacrifice  Ijelongs 

Taittari)’a  Bnilimana,  i.  1-2  (author’s  MS.)  See  also  edition  of 
ill  Bib.  Ind.  p.  4. 

t T.  B.  i.  1-9.  Compare  with  this,  p.  147,  above. 

t T.  B.  1-1-10. 

§ I : Taitti- 

riya  Brahmana,  1.  2.  G. 

II  Fermentation  of  bread  and  water.  Wilson’s  S.  Dictionary. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  161 


botli  1.0  the  Brahman  and  the  Rajanya*  The  Brahman, 
endowed  like  the  Rishi,  has  to  stir  up  the  sacrificial  fire ; 
“ for  the  Brahman  is  every  divinity.”')'  Higher  elevation 
than  this  it  is  difficult  to  imagine. 

Social  distinctions  are  mentioned,  as  in  a passage  from 
the  Taittiriya  Sanliita  already  noticed.:}: 

Some  of  the  gods  are  viewed  individually  as  the  lords 
of  particular  interests  and  classes  of  men.  Agni  is  the 
lord  of  food  ; Soma  is  the  king  of  the  king  (raja  rdja- 
pati)  ; Vanina  is  the  emperor  of  the  emperor;  Mitra  is 
the  kshatrapaii  oi  the  kshatra;^  Indra  is  the  might  of 
tlie  mighty  ; Brihaspati  is  the  Brahmapati  of  the  Brah- 
ma ; Savita  is  the  Rashtrapati  of  the  Rashtra  ; Pii.dia  is 
the  Vitpati  of  the  Visha ; Sarasvati  is  the  piishti-patnl 
(mistress)  of  the  pushti  ; Tvashta  is  the  former  of  the 
pairs  of  beasts. || 

In  a remarkable  chapter  of  this  Taittiriya  Brahmana 
(iii.  80),  the  parties  of  the  Purusha  Medha  are  mentioned, 
(with  variants)  as  in  the  thirtieth  chapter  of  the  White 
Yajur  Veda.^ 

* T.  B.  i.  3.  3. 

t 1 mfrirn  Taitt.  Brah.  i.  4.4. 

Various  other  things  are  to  be  done  by  the  Brahman  in  virtue  of  this 
divine  status.  See  the  context, 

J Taitt.  Brah.  1.  7. 3.  For  the  parties,  see  above,  p.  124. 

§ Mitra  and  Yaruna  are  thus  addressed  a little  onwards  : — 

raiffvR  Rrrurw  tffRcru — 

“ Thou  art  Mitra  ; thou  art  Varuna,  with  the  Vishv4-devas  ; thou  art 
the  navel  of  the  Kshatra ; thou  art  the  vulva  of  the  Kshatra.”  Tlie 
Brahma  is  called  the  vulva  of  the  Kshatra  in  T.  B.  iii.  fob  G8. 

II  Taitt.  Brah.  ii.  5-7.  1"  See  before,  pp.  127-132. 

21 


16-2 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Ill  religious  services,  the  Brahman  has  all  the  promi- 
nence he  can  desire.  “ If  a goat  be  not  found,  then  make 
the  Homa  at  the  right  hand  of  the  Brahman.  He  is  the 
Vaishvanara  (of  men  the  universal)  Agni ; if  the  Homa  be 
made  upon  the  Brahman’s  hand,  it  is  as  if  made  by  Agni 
himself.”*  How  different  is  the  position  of  the  8hudra ! 
In  the  sacrifice  of  the  Ashvamedha,  “ The  Shudra  has 
to  watch  the  property  ; so  to  a bastard  (who  is  like  a 
Shudraj  there  is  not  the  privilege  of  the  abliisheka  (or 
ritual  sprinkling.”)'!'  If  the  Biahman  acknowledges  the 
splendour  of  the  prince,  his  own  splendour  is  superior. 
Wealth  and  rule  do  not  remain  with  the  Brahman  ; rule 
remains  with  the  Kshatrij'a.  The  Brahman  is  of  the 
form  of  the  day  ; the  Kshatriya  is  of  the  form  of  the 
night.  Let  the  Brahman  perform  the  religious  services 
(ishlapurtta)  of  the  Kshatriya.  The  Kshatriya  should 
rule.  His  glory  is  in  war  and  battlej  Consider  these 
demands,  and  yield  this  homage,  and  the  Bryiman  has 
all  that  he  can  desire. 

In  the  Shatapatha  Brdhmana  of  the  White  Yajur  Veda 
of  the  Madliyandina  Shakha,  or  Becension,  the  develop- 
ment of  the  Caste  System  is  apparent,  much  as  in  the 
two  Brfdimanas  which  we  have  just  now  noticed. 

This  work  attributes  the  Collection  of  the  White  Yajur 
Veda  to  the  priest  and  teacher  Ydjnavalkya,  whose 
alleged  decision  it  holds  to  be  authoritative. <§  In  a 
passage  to  which  we  have  already  referred,  the  Bdks/iasas 

* Taitt.  Br.  iii.  MS.  fol.  59.  f Taitt.  Br.  iii.  MS.  fol.  101. 

X Tait  Brail.  MS.  fol.  105. 

§ Shatapatha  Brahmaiia,  i.  1.  9 (Weber  p.  2)  et  in  al.  loc. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAHMANAS,  163 

are  said  to  derive  their  designation  from  their  being 
proliibitors  of  sacrifice.*  Vishnu  (in  the  Rig- Veda,  the 
god  of  the  brilliant  firmament,  or  space)  is,  probably  on 
account  of  the  ascent  ol  the  sacrificial  flame,  called  “ the 
sacrifice,”t  from  which  circumstance,  certainly,  he  after- 
wards received  his  pre-eminence  among  the  gods,  though 
Savitd  (the  Sun)  is  in  the  context  called  “ the  generator 
of  the  gods,”J  and  Agni  is  in  the  Vedas  the  god  of 
sacrifice.  Ceremonial  impurity  proceeding,  during  the 
celebration  of  sacrificial  rites,  from  (the  touch  of)  a 
Carpenter  (Taksha)  or  any  other  sacrificielly  impure 
person,  is  represented  as  removed  by  the  sprinkling  of 
the  sacrificial  water.§  Yet  even  at  this  time  sacrifice 
seems,  in  some  of  its  relations  at  least,  to  have  been 
available  for  the  Shudra,  as  brought  to  notice  in  a 
passage  which  we  have  already  quoted  : — “ If  the  sacri- 
fice!' be  a Brahman,  it  is  said  EJd,  Come ! If  he  is  a 
Vaishya,  then  it  is  Agahi,  Come  hither  ! With  a Rd- 
janguh indhu  [a  transposition  of  the  Vaishya  and  Rajanya 
having  occurred],  it  is  Adrava,  Run  hither!  With  a 
Shudra  it  is  Adhava,  Run  hither”  1 1|  While  the  sacri- 

* Ib.  i.  1.  16. 

t Wr ^ Shat.  Br.  i.  1.  2.  13. 

I Bfffrr ^ JTuriTr.  ib.  i.  2. 17. 

§ Shat.  Br.  i.  1.  3.  12.  This  passage  forms  a key  to  the  Caste 
institution  of  sparslia,  or  defilement  by  contact.  What  occurred  at 
sacrifices,  at  -which  parties  were  held  to  be  ceremonially  pm-e  or 
impure,  was  afterwards  extended  to  what  may  occur  in  any  circum- 
stances in  social  life,  to  the  debasement  of  large  classes  of  the 
community. 

II  Shat.  Br.  i.  1.  4.  11. 


164 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ficial  stake  (yupa)  and  rice-stirring  instrument  (sphya) 
are  appropriate  to  the  Brdhman,  the  chariot  and  arrow 
are  appropriate  to  the  Rajanya*  The  Brahman  stands 
forth  as  the  arranger  of  sacrifice.f  The  spring  is  said  to 
be  the  season  of  sacrifice,  for  the  Brahman;  the  summer 
for  the  .EsAab-a;  and  the  rainy  season  (rars/m)  for  the 
Vita.:\.  Of  the  mystical  words  prefixed  to  the  Gayatri,  the 
Brdhman  should  pronounce  the  bhuh;  the  Kshatra,  the 
hhuvah;  and  the  Visha,  the  svah.§  Indra  and  Agni 
are  sods  of  the  Kshatra,  and  the  Vishvedevas  of  the 
y/s/ja.II  Brihaspati  is  the  god  of  the  Brahmans.*^  The 
power  of  the  Kshatra  is  Yaruna.**  That  of  the  Visha 
is  the  Maruta  (company).  In  the  Diksha,  or  sacrifice  of 
Initiation,  the  Brdhman,  Bdjanya,  and  Vaishya,  but  not 
the  Shudra,  may  sacrifice.ff  The  Rdjanya  and  the 
Vaishya  are  after  the  Diksha  pronounced  to  be  sacramen- 
tally the  same  as  the  Brdhman,  sprung  from  sacTifice.;|;:|: 
The  Brahman  is  encouraged  to  desire  the  work  of  the 
forestander,  the  representative  of  every  Kshatriya.§§ 

In  the  Savakanda  of  this  Shatapatha  Brahmana,  there 
is  an  important  passage  which,  in  connexion  wnth  the 
Ai-anyoragni  Samarohya  (the  sacrificial  kindling  of  fire  by 
friction)  brings  to  notice  various  classes  of  the  community 

* Shat.  Br.  i.  2.  4.  2. 

t JTimiT  : Shat.  Br.  i.  5.  1.  12. 

t Shat.  Br.  ii.  1.  3.  5.  § Shat.  Br.  ii.  1.  3.  4. 

II  Shat.  Br.  ii.  4.  3.  6.  ^ Shat.  Br.  ii.  5.  2.  36.,  et.  in  al.  loc. 

**  Shat.  Br.  v.  1.  1.  11.,  et.  in  al.  loc. 

-j-f-  Shat.  Br.  iii.  1.  2.  10.  Shat.  Br.  iii.  2.  1.  10. 

§§  irr^TT ; Sh.  Br.  iv.  1.  4.  5. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  165 


much  as  is  done  in  a portion  oftlie  Black  Yajnr  Veda  to 
which  we  have  already  refeiTed.*  The  parties  specified 
in  it  are  the  Senani,  the  general,  whose  representative 
god,  in  the  offering  of  the  prepared  rice,  is  said  to  be 
Agni  ; the  Purohita,  or  family  priest,  whose  god  is 
Brihaspati,  the  “ Pimohita  of  the  gods the  Kshatra, 
whose  god  is  Indra ; the  Mahish^,  “ the  chief  wife  of  an 
anointed  king”  according  to  Say  ana  A'charya,  whose  god 
is  A'ditya  ; the  Suta,  or  Charioteer,  whose  god  is  Varuna; 
the  Grdmani,  the  equivalent  of  the  Visha,-  whose  god  is 
the  Maruta  (wind)  ; the  Kshatta,  or  lictor,  whose  god  is 
Savita,  “^the  generator  of  the  gods”;  the  Sungrah'ita, 
whom  we  have  already  supposed  to  be  the  treasurer,  hut 
whom  Sayana  makes  a charioteer,  whose  deities  are  the 
two  Ashvius;  the  Bhdgadugha,  or  collector,  whose  deity  is 
Pusha,  the  nourishing  sun ; the  Aksliavapa,  or  superin- 
tendent of  the  dice,  whose  god  is  Rudra;  and  the  Palagala, 
(who  has  not  yet  occiuTed),  said  by  A'pastamba  to  be  the 
chief  ambassador ; and  the  Parivritti,  or  wife  without  a 
son."]'  These  parties  are  obviously  principally  those  in 
public  offices,  though  they  include  the  primitive  sacrificial 
castes. 

The  saciificial  castes  are,  in  the  same  section  of  the 
Brahmana,  represented  as  performing  their  sprinklings  with 
different  trees.  The  Brahman  takes  the  Palasha  (Butea 
frondosa) ; the  Bajanya,  the  Nyagrodha  (Ficus  Indica) ; 
and  the  Vaishya,  the  Ashvattha  (Ficns  religiosa).^  The 

* See  above,  p.  124. 

f Shat.  Br.  v.  2.  4.  12,  et.  seq.  Weber,  pp.  444-447 ; 487-8. 

{ Shat.  Br.  v.  3.  2.  11,  et.  seq.  p.  455.  Other  class  distinctions 
are  mentioned  in  the  context.  See  pp.  457,  460,  465,  503,  569,723. 


166 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


multiplication  of  distinctions  in  every  religious  act  and 
ceremony  seems  to  have  been  early  an  aim  of  the  Indians. 
In  the  same  section  also,  it  is  said,  “ There  are  foin-  Castes 
(Yarnas),  tlie  Brahman,  Rajanya,  Vahhya,  and  Shudni, 
not  one  of  whom  there  is  that  vomits  the  Soma.”*  The 
mention  here  of  the  Shudra  shows,  as  in  a passage  already 
quoted,  f that,  in  a certain  form  at  least,  the  Shudra, 
though  probably  not  a personal  saciificer,  was  a participant 
in  the  potable  or  edible  material  of  sacrifice  and  its  supposed 
spiritual  fruits. 

In  the  eighth  section  of  this  Brahmana,  a Rajanya, 
who  belonged  to  the  province  of  Gandhai-a,  to  the  south  of 
the  Kabul  affluent  of  the  Indus,  is  thus  brought  to  notice. 
“ Further  Svaijit,  sou  of  Nagnajit  said.  Now  Nagnajit 
was  a Gaiidhara. . . .This  which  he  said,  he  spake  as  a mere 
Rajauya.”:{:  On  this  passage  it  is  rightly  remarked  by  Mr. 

]\Iuir,  that  “although  his (Svarjit’s)  view  (respecting  breath 
or  life)  was  not  regarded  as  authoritative,  still  the  very  fact 
of  its  bemg  quoted,  and  its  author  mentioned  as  a Rajanya, 
proves  his  Arian  origm.Ӥ 

In  the  thirteenth  Kanda,  in  which  the  grand  sacrifices 
and  distribution  of  enormous  dakshina  by  several  kings  are 
alluded  to,  verses 'are  quoted  in  which  both  “ five  classes 
of  men”  (pancha  manava)  and  “ seven  classes  of  men” 
(sapta  manava)  are  alluded  to.  ||  These  Pentads  and 
Heptads  naturally  bring  to  notice  what  is  said  in  the 
Veda  of  the  Panchahshiti.*)  Weber  thinks  that  the  Pentad 

* Shat.  Br.  t See  above,  p.  v.  5.  4.  9. 

J ShatBr.  viii.  1.  4.  10.  § Muir’s  Texts,  ii.  p.  366. 

II  Shat.  Br.  xiii.  3.  6.  14.  and  23.  Weber,  p.  995-6. 

See  above,  pp.  116-17. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAIIMANAS.  1G7 


refers  to  tlie  Paiicluilas^  often  mentioned  (and  supposed  l)y 
Iloth  to  be  the  five  races  of  the  Panjab)  and  the  Heptad  to 
tlie  Kurus  and  Panchyas- f 

An  important  passage,  in  this  Shatapatha  Bralnnana, 
corresponding  Avitli  tlie  Vrihad  A'ranjaka  Upanishad,  will 
be  noticed  onwards.  But  before  leaving  this  Biahmana 
we  may,  turning  back,  refer  to  two  notices,  somervliat  of  a 
bistorical  character,  which  it  contains,  and  which  are  quite 
consistent  with  statements  made  in  the  commencement  of 
this  section  of  our  work. 

In  the  first  Kanda  there  is  an  account  of  a Deluge, 
similar  in  some  respects  to  that  brought  to  notice  in  holy 
writ,  Avhich  seems  to  indicate  that  the  Hindus  had  a tradi- 
tion of  having  crossed  a great  mountain  chain  on  their 
originally  coming  to  India.  This  remarkable  passage, 
which  has  been  translated  by  Weber,*  Muller, f and  Muir,;[: 
is  as  follows: — “ They  brought  to  Manu  in  the  moniing 
water  for  washing,  as  they  are  in  the  habit  of  bringing 
water  to  wash  with  the  hands.  As  he  was  using  the  water, 
there  came  into  his  hands  a fish  which  said  to  him, 

‘ Preserve  me  and  I will  save  thee.’  [Manu  inquired] 

‘ From  what  will  thou  save  me’?  [The  fish  replied]  ‘A 
flood  shall  sweep  away  all  these  creatures;  I will  rescue 
Ihee  from  it.’  [Manu  asked]  ‘How  is  thy  protection’  [to 
be  effected  ?]  The  fish  answered,  ‘ So  long  as  we  are  small, 
we  are  in  great  peril,  and  even  fish  devours  fish  ; preserve 

I See  Note  in  Muir’s  Texts  i.  pp.  135-6,  and  Weber’s  Indisclie 
Studion  i.  200. 

* Indische  Stirdien,  i.  163-164. 

■j"  History  of  A.  S.  Literature,  p.  425,  et.  seq. 

1 Sanskrit  Texts,  ii.  p.  325-7. 


168 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


me  first  in  a jar.  When  I grow  too  large  for  tlie  jar^ 
dig  a trench,  and  preserve  me  in  it.  When  I become  too 
great  for  that,  carry  me  to  the  ocean;  I shall  then  he  beyond 
the  reach  of  danger.’  Straightway  it  became  a great  fisli ; 
for  it  grew  exceedingly.  [The  fish  then  said,]  ^ In  so 
many  years  the  flood  will  come,  make  a ship  therefore, 
and  worship  me;  and  when  the  flood  rises  embark  on  the 
ship,  and  I shall  deliver  thee.’  Accordingly  Mann  pre- 
served the  fish,  and  brought  it  to  the  ocean ; and  in  the  same 
year  which  the  fish  had  declared,  he  built  a ship  and  worship- 
ped [the  fish].  When  the  flood  ascended,  he  entered  the 
ship,  and  the  fish  swam  near  him : and  he  fastened  the  cable 
of  the  ship  to  the  fish’s  horn.  By  this  means  he  passed 
over  this  northern  mountain.  The  fish  then  said,  ‘ 1 have 
delivered  thee,  fasten  the  ship  to  a tree.’  But  lest  the  water 
should  abandon  thee  when  thou  art  upon  the  mountain,  as 
fast  as  the  water  subsides,  so  fast  shalt  thou  descend  alon<r 

O 

uith  it.  Accordingly  he  descended  as  the  water  subsided. 
Hence,  this  was  ‘ Manu’s  descent’  from  the  northeni 
mountain.  The  flood  had  swept  away  all  creatures  ; 
!Mauu  alone  was  left.  Being  desii-ous  of  offspring  he 
laboriously  performed  a religious  rite.  And  there,  too,  he 
sacrificed  with  the  paka  sacrifice.  He  cast  clarified  butter, 
thickened  milk,  whey,  and  ciuxls,  as  an  oblation  into  the 
waters.  After  a year  a female  was  produced,  who  rose 
unctuous  from  the  waters,  with  clarified  butter  under  her 
feet.  Mitra  and  Varuna  met  her,  and  said  to  her,  ‘ AYho  art 
thou  ?’  ‘ Manu’s  daughter,’  she  replied.  They  rejoined, 

‘ Say  that  thou  art  our  daughter.’  She  answered,  ‘ No  ; 
I am  the  daughter  of  him  who  begot  me.’  Then  they 
demanded  a share  in  her.  She  promised,  and  she  did  not 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  BRAHMANAS.  169 


promise  ; bat  passed  on  and  came  to  Manu.  Manu  asked 
her  ‘ Who  art  thou?’  ‘Thy  daughter,’  she  replied.  ‘ Noav, 
thou  divine  one,  art  thou  my  daugliter  ?’  he  inquired.  She 
replied,  ‘ Thou  hast  begotten  me  from  these  oblations 
which  thou  didst  cast  into  the  Avaters.  I am  a benediction. 
Introduce  me  at  the  sacrifice.  If  thou  shalt  do  so,  thou 
shalt  increase  in  offspring  and  cattle.  AYliatever  boon 
thou  shalt  supplicate  through  me,  shall  accrue  to  thee.’ 
He  accordingly  introduced  her  in  the  middle  of  the  sacri- 
fice ; for  that  is  tlie  middle  which  stands  between  the 
introductory  and  concluding  prayers.  He  lived  AAith  her 
worshipping  and  toiling,  desirous  of  offspring.  By  her  he 
begot  this  offspring,  which  is  the  offspring  of  Manu.”*  This 
legend  appears  here  in  a much  more  simple  form  than  it 
does  in  the  Mahabharata,  Matsya  Parana,  or  any  of  the 
other  Avorks  of  the  later  literature  of  the  Hmdus.  Next  to 
the  references  to  the  Uitcira  (northern)  Kurus,  it  is  the 
most  important  tradition  known  to  the  Indians  respect- 
ing their  acquaintance  with  the  north.  These  Kurus,  of- 
ten referred  to  by  the  Brahmans  in  conversation,  are 
brought  to  notice  both  in  a geographical  and  mythical 
form  in  the  Indian  literature.  The  oldest  reference  to 
them  occurs  in  the  folloAving  passage  of  the  Aitareya 
Brahmana:  “Wherefore  in  this  northern  region,  all  the 

people  who  dwell  beyond  the  Himavat,  the  Uttara  Kurus, 
and  the  Uttara  Madras,  are  consecrated  to  separate  rule 
(vairajya).”'!'  In  another  passage  of  the  same  Avork,  they 
are  spoken  of  as  “the  land  of  the  gods  (deva-kshetram),”  of 

* Muir’s  Texts,  ii.  pp.  325-7. 

f Ait.  Brail,  viii.  14.  This  passage  Avas  brought  to  notice  by 
Weber,  Ind.  Stud.  i.  218. 


170 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


which  it  is  added,  “ no  mortal  may  conquer  it.”*  Other 
allusions  to  them  occur  in  the  Ramayana,'|'  Mahabharata, 
etc.  Ptolemy,  too,  speaks  of  a mountain  and  city  called 
Ottorokorra^'\,  which  must  be  referred  to  them.  The 
sanctit}’^  of  this  region  in  the  eyes  of  the  Hindus  probably 
originated  in  the  respect  felt  for  it  as  an  early  seat  of  at 
least  a branch  of  the  A'ryan  people. § 

^ye  find  the  following  remarkable  passage,  also  near 
the  commencement  of  this  Brahmana  (first  brought 
to  notice  by  Dr.  Weber ),||  referring  to  the  advance  of  the 
ATyas  and  the  spread  of  their  religious  rites  from  the  river 
Sarasvati  in  an  easterly  direction  : — “ Mathava  the  Vide- 
gha^  bore  Agni  Vaishvanara  in  his  mouth.  The  Rishi 
Gotama  Rahugana**  was  his  priest  (puroliita).  Thougli 
addressed  by  him  he  (Mathava)  did  not  answer,  ‘ lest  (he 
said)  Agni  (Fire)  should  escape  from  my  mouth.’  The 
priest  began  to  invoke  Agni  with  verses  of  the  Rik  : ‘ We 
kindle  thee  at  the  sacrifice,  O wise  Agni,  the  sacrifice!’,  the 
luminous,  the  might}^  0 Yidegha.’  (R.  Y.  v.  26.  3.)  He 
made  no  answer.  (The  priest  then  repeated,)  ‘ Thy 
bright,  brilliant,  flaming  beams  and  rays  mount  upwards, 
0 Agni,  O Yidegha.’  (R.  Y.  viii.  44.  16.)  Still  he  made  no 

* Ait.  Brah.  viii.  23. 

t Ram.  iv.  44.82.  Mahabh.  i.  v.  4719*22.  Vishnu  Parana,  p.  168. 

t Ptol.  Geo.  vi.  16. 

§ See  on  the  Uttara  Kurus,  Lassen’s  Ind.  Altherthumskunde,  i. 
511-12  ; Zeitschrift  fur  die  K.  D.  M.  ii.  62  ; and  Muir’s  Texts,  ii. 
332-37. 

II  Indische  Studien,  i.  170. 

^ “Afterwards  prakritized  to  Videha”  ? 

**  See  R.  V.  i.  78.  5. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  13RAHMANAS.  171 

reply.  (The  priest  then  recited  ;)  ‘Thee,  0 dropper  of 
butter.  Vie  invoke,’  &c.  (R.  V.  v.  26.  2.)  So  far  he  uttered ; 
when  immediately  on  the  mention  of  butter  (ghrita), 
Agni  Vaishvanara  flashed  forth  from  his  mouth  ; he  could 
not  restrain  him,  so  he  issued  from  his  mouth,  and  fell 
down  to  this  earth.  The  Videgha  Mathava  was  then  on 
(or  in)  the  Sarasvati.  (Agni)  then  traversed  this  earth, 
burning  towards  the  east.  Gotama  Rahugana  and  the 
Videgha  Mathava  followed  after  him  as  he  burned  onward. 
He  burnt  across  all  these  rivers  ; but  he  did  not  burn 
across  the  Sadanira,  which  descends  from  the  northern 
mountain  (the  Himalaya).  The  Brahmans  formerly  did 
not  use  to  cross  this  river,  because  it  had  not  been  burnt 
across  by  Agni  Vaishvanara.  But  now  many  Brahmans 
(live)  to  the  east  of  it.  It  used  to  he  uninhabitable,  and 
swampy,  being  imtasted  by  Agni  Vaishvanara.  It  is  now, 
however,  habitable ; for  Brahmans  have  caused  it  to  be 
tasted  by  sacrifices.  In  the  end  of  summer  this  river  is, 
as  it  were,  incensed,  being  still  cold,  not  having  been 
burnt  across  by  Agni  Vaishvanara.  The  Videgha  Ma- 
thava spake;  ‘Where  shall  I abide’?  (Agni)  replied, 

‘ Thy  abode  (shall  be)  to  the  east  of  this  (river).  This 
stream  is  even  now  the  boundary  of  the  Kosalas  and  Vide- 
has;  for  they  are  the  descendants  of  Mathava.’”*  The 
river  Sadanira  here  mentioned  is  not  identified  ; but  the 
spread  of  the  Aryan  faith  eastward  from  the  Sarasvati, 
one  of  its  early  seats  in  India,  is  certainly  made  obvious 
by  this  somewhat  figurative  narrative.f 


* Shat.  Br.  i.  4.  1.  10,  et.  seq. 

I See  oa  its  precise  import,  Weber  in  loc.  cit.  and  Muir,  ii.  419-422. 


172 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Notices  somewhat  similar  to  those  now  introduced  from 
the  Aitareya,  Taittinya,  and  Sl)atapatha  Brdhmanas,  may 
possibly  be  found  to  some  extent  in  the  less  important 
Brahmanas.  Dr.  Weber  considers  the  Shadvinsha  Brah- 
mana  as  having  a “distinctly  formed  Brahmanical  character, 
indicating  a not  very  early  date.”  The  following  passage 
in  it  is  referred  to  by  Dr.  Weber  and  Mr.  Muir : “ Indra 

declared  the  ulctha  (recited  hymn)  to  Vishvamitra  [the 
Rdjanya  said  to  have  attained  to  Brdhmanhood],  and  the 
Brahma  (sacrificial  knowledge)  to  Vasishtha  [originally 
a Brdhman] ; — the  uldha,  wliicli  is  speech,  to  Vishvdmi- 
tra,  and  the  Brahma,  which  is  mental,  to  Vasishtha.”  The 
object  of  this  is  e^ddentlv  to  (pialify  the  effects  of  the 
acknowledged  transition  of  Vishvdmitra  to  the  priesthood — 
an  admission  always  felt  to  be  awkward  by  the  supporters 
of  Caste  ; for  it  is  added,  “ Hence  this  brahma  belongs  to 
the  Vasishthas.  Moreover,  let  a descendant  of  Vasishtha, 
who  is  acquainted  with  it,  be  appointed  Brahma."*  The 
Gopatha  Brahmana  deals  with  the  ritual  of  the  Atharvas 
of  the  fourth  Veda,  in  which  Brdhnianism,  though  in  a 
sectarian  form,  is  conspicuously  dominant.')'  J t even  derives 
its  ideal  of  the  Creator  from  Athai’van.;|; 

3 From  the  Brahmanas,  we  proceed  to  the  A'raayakas 
(Discourses  of  the  Forest)  and  Upanishads,  (Discourses  to 

* See  Weber’s  Indiscbe  Studien  (i.  36-39)  and  Muir’s  Texts  (i.  79) 
on  the  Shadvinsha. 

t The  MSS.  of  this  Brahmana  are  extremely  rare.  I have  just 
heard  of  one  having  fallen  into  the  hands  of  Dr.  Haug  at  Puna  as  this 
passes  through  the  press. 

See  Hist,  of  A.  Sans.  Lit.  by  Dr.  Max  Muller,  p.  451. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- NOTICES  IN  THE  A'RANYAKAS.  173 


Near-Sitters)*  which  are  closely  connected  together.  The 
oldest  of  these  works,  speaking  generally,  represent  the  spe- 
culative thonght  of  India  in  the  ages  immediately  posterior 
to  those  of  the  Bralimanas,  and  in  after  times.  Some  of 
them,  however,  like  the  Vrihad  (or  Brihad)  A'ranyaka 
UjHndshad,  which  is  mostly  written  in  the  name  of  Yajna- 
valkya,  and  finds  a place  at  the  end  of  the  Shatapatha  Bi  ah- 
mana  (also  attributed  to  that  famous  teacher)  may  be  of 
the  same  age  as  that  work.  Their  philosophical  character 
confers  a peculiar  value  on  their  brief  references  to  the 
social  state  of  the  ancient  Indians,  although  these  references 
are  often  of  a constrictive  character,  founded  on  the  desire 
of  their  authors  to  uphold  the  doctiiue  of  spiritual  pan- 
theism (that  of  the  universality  and  identity  of  Brahma, 
viewed  not  as  religious  service  but  as  its  object  and  the 

* The  great  commentator  Shankara  A'charya  views  Upanishad  as 
equivalent  to  Annihilator.  In  his  introduction  to  the  Brihad  A'ran- 
yaka Upanishad,  he  writes  thus : “ ‘ The  dawn  is  the  head  of  the 

sacrificial  horse’  [the  name  of  this  A'ranyaka  derived  from  its  first 
words]  is  composed  for  the  sake  of  those  who  wish  to  liberate  them- 
selves from  the  world,  in  order  that  they  may  acquire  the  knowledge 
that  Brahma  [here  used  not  in  the  \ edic  sense  of  religious  service 
but  the  Spirit  to  whom  this  brahma  is  directed]  and  the  soul  are  the 
same,  akno’.vledge  by  which  the  liberation  from  the  cause  of  the  world 
(ignorance)  is  accomplished.  The  world  is  accomplished.  This  know- 
ledge of  Brahma  is  called  Upam'diad,  because  it  completely  annihilates 
the  [essential  reality  of]  the  world,  together  with  its  cause  in  such  as 
possess  this  knowledge ; for  this  is  the  meaning  of  the  word  Sad,  (to 
destroy  or  to  go)  preceded  by  Upani  (quasi,  near  and  ni,  certainly). 
A work  which  treats  of  the  same  knowledge  is  called  Upanishad." 
Eoer’s  Trans,  of  Br.  Ar.  Up.  p.  1.  Dr.  Jlax  Muller,  with  more  correct 
philological  appreciation,  shows  that  up  -p  sad  is  used  “ in  the  sense  of 
sitting  and  worshipping.”  Hist,  of  A.  S.  Lit.  p.  318. 


174 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


object  of  the  contemplation  of  the  wise),  for  the  support  of 
w'liicli  they  have  evidently  been  composed.* 

From  the  Briliad  (or  Vrihad)  Aranyaka  Upani.?liad  we 
take  the  following  notices  : — 

“ Brahma  verily  was  this  before,  one  alone.  Being  one, 
he  did  not  extend.  He  with  concentrated  power  created 
the  Kshatra  of  elevated  nature,  viz.,  all  those  Kshatras 
who  are  protectors  among  the  gods,  Indra,  Varuna,  Soma, 
Riidra,  Paijanya,  Yama,  Death,  and  Ishaiia.  Therefore 
none  is  greater  than  the  Kshatra ; therefore  the  Brahman 
under  the  Kshatriya,  worshijis  at  the  Rajasuya  ceremony. 
The  Kshatra  alone  gives  (him)  his  glory.  Brahma  is  thus 
the  birth-place  of  the  Kshatra.  Therefore  although  tlie 
king  obtains  the  highest  dignity,  he  at  last  takes  refuge  in  the 
Brahma  as  in  his  birth-place.  Whosoever  despises  him, 
he  destroys  his  birth-place.  He  is  a very  great  sinner, 
like  a man  who  injures  a superior.  He  did  not  extend. 
He  created  the  Vit.  He  is  all  those  gods  who,  according 
to  then-  classes,  are  called  Vasus,  Riidras,  A'dityas,  Yish- 
vedevas,  and  Maruts.  He  did  not  extend.  He  created 
the  caste  of  the  Shudras  as  the  nourisher.  Tliis  (earth)  is 
the  nourisher ; for  it  nourishes  all  this  whatsoever.  He 
did  not  extend  j he  created  with  concentrated  power  justice 
of  eminent  nature.  This  justice  is  the  preserver  (Ksliatra) 

* Sliankara  A' chary  a says,  “ The  knowledge  of  the  identity  of 
Brahma  [in  all  forms]  is  the  certain  meaning  of  the  Upanishads  in 
all  the  Shakhas.”  Ruer’s  Trans,  of  B.  A.  U.,  p.  1 07.  Seeking  a Vedic 
support,  the  Upanishads  found  much  on  a few  expressions  contained  in 
some  of  the  later  Suktas,  such  as  that  attributed  to  the  God  Incira  by 
Vamadeva,  in  which  he  says,  “ I was  Manu,  I am  the  Sun.”  See 
on  this  and  similar  expressions  of  the  Veda,  Author’s  India  Three 
Thousand  Years  Ago,  p.  76. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  A'RANYAKAS.  175 

of  the  Kshatra.  There  is  nought  higher  than  justice. 
Even  the  weak  is  confident  to  defeat  the  more  powerful 
by  justice,  as  (a  householder)  by  the  king.  Verily  justice 
is  true.  Therefore  they  say  of  a person  who  speaks  the 
truth,  he  speaks  justice,  or  of  a person  who  speaks  justice^ 
lie  speaks  the  truth.  In  this  manner  verily  it  is  both. 
This  is  the  creation  of  the  Bramha,  the  Kshatra,  the  Vit, 
and  the  Shudra.  He  was  in  the  form  of  Agni  (fire) 
among;  the  Gods  as  Brahma,  he  was  the  Bramhan  among 
men,  in  the  form  of  Kshatriya  Kshatriya,  in  the  form  of 
Vaishya  Vaishya,  in  the  form  of  Shudra  Shudra.,  Therefore 
among  the  gods  the  place  (loka)  is  desired  through  Agni 
only; among  men  through  the  Brahman,  because  in  their 
forms  Bramha  became  (manifest).”*  The  Kshatra,  the 
Brahma,  the  Vit,  and  the  Shudra  are  here  alike  consid- 
ered the  positive  creations  of  Brahma  (now  used  in  a new 
sense.  Care,  however,  is  taken  that  by  this  view  of  mat- 
ters, the  Brahman  shall  not  be  disparaged,  the  Kshatra 
at  last  taking  refuge  in  the  Brahma  as  his  birth-place. 
The  Shudra  (a  partial  etymological  reference  being  made 
to  the  first  syllable  of  the  name)  is  here  viewed  as  the 
nourisher ; but  he  is  still  the  lowest  in  the  scale  : “ He 

(Brahma)  w^as  in  the  form  of  Agni  among  the  gods  as 
Brahma ; he  was  the  Brahman  among  men  ; in  the 
form  of  Kshatriya,  Kshatriya  ; in  the  form  of  Vaishya, 
Vaishya;  in  the  form  of  Shudra,  Shudra.”  This  doctrine 

* This  is  the  accurate  translation  of  Dr.  Rber  (p.  121-5).  For  “ he 
did  not  extend,”  it  might  an  improvement  to  say,  “ He  did  not  sepa- 
rate, or  multiply,”  the  original  being  H ^ The  passage  occurs 

in  the  Vphad  Ar.  Up.  i.  4 and  in  the  Shatapatha  Brah.  xiv.  4.  2.  23. 
p.  1052  in  Weber’s  edition. 


176 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Shankara  A'chdrya  does  not  fail  to  turn  to  account : 
“ Among  men  the  place,  the  effect  of  works,  is  desired 
through  the  nature  of  the  Brahman  alone,  because 
Brahma,’ the  creator,  ‘ in  their  forms,’  of  the  Brahman  and 
Agni,  the  forms  upon  which  the  agents  of  work  are 
dependent,  ‘ became  manifest’  ”* 

“ It  verily  goes  against  the  grain  that  a Brahman  should 
approach  a Kshatriya  for  the  purpose  of  learning  Brahma 
from  him.”  These  words  are  doubtless  put  by  a Brahman 
into  the  mouth  of  Ajatshatru,  “ king  of  Kashi,”  when  he 
is  represented  as  instmcting  “ Gargya,  the  proud  son  of 
Balaka.”t 

“0  Matreyi,  said  Yajnavalkya  (to  his  wife),  behold, 
I am  desmous  of  raising  myself  from  the  order,  therefore 
let  me  divide  (my  property)  between  thee  and  KaB  ayani 
there.”  J Here  Yajnavalkya  desires  to  leave  his  aslirama  of 
Householder  for  that  of  a Sannydsi.  The  orders,  after- 
wards spoken  of  by  Manu,^  are  here  recognized.  They 
are  also  brought  to  notice  in  the  following  passage,  which 
teaches  that  the  mendicant  and  meditative  life  is  preferable 
to  that  of  parties  followuig  the  coin’se  of  the  world. 
“Then  asked  him  (Yajnavalkya)  Kahola,the  son  of  Kuslii- 
taka, — Yajnavalkya,  do  explain  to  me  that  Brahma,  who 
is  a witness  and  present  that  soul  which  is  Anthin  every 
(being).”  “ It  is  thy  soul  which  is  within  every  being.” 
“ It  is  the  soul  which  conquers  hunger,  thirst,  grief,  delu- 
sion, old  age,  (and)  death.  When  Brahmans  know  this  soul, 
then  elevating  themselves  from  the  desire  of  obtaining  a son, 

* Eder’s  Trans,  of  Vrihad  A' ran.  Up.  p.  125. 

Ib.  p.  172.  f tb.  p.  177. 

§ See  above,  p.  27-35. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  A'RANYAKAS.  177 

from  the  desire  of  wealth,  and  from  the  desire  of  gaining 
the  worlds  (above),  they  lead  the  life  of  wandeiing  mendi- 
cants J for  the  desire  of  a son  is  also  the  desire  for  wealth 
(to  perform  rites) ; the  desne  for  wealth  is  also  the  desne 
for  the  worlds ; for  even  both  are  desires.  Therefore 
knowing  wisdom  let  the  Brahman  (the  student  of  Brahma) 
arm  himself  with  strength.”*  It  is  afterwards  added, 
“ Wlioever  knowmg  this  indestructible  [being]  departs  from 
this  world,  O Gargi,  is  a (true)  Brahman.”f 

In  the  fourth  Kanda  of  the  work  before  us,  it  is  said 
that  Yajnavalkya  was  offered,  at  every  illustrative  story 
which  he  repeated,  “ a thousand  cows  big  as  elephants,”  by 
Janaka  king  of  Videha.  His  uniform  reply  was,  “ My 
father  admonished  me,  where  one  does  not  instruct,  one 
should  not  take  (gifts).  The  Brahmans,  in  the  time  of  the 
liaw-Books,  demanded  gifts  from  Kshatryas  and  Vaish- 
yas  without  service,  and  taught  that  their  free  bestowment 
on  the  priestly  caste  was  meritorious.^  In  the  same  Kanda, 
(and  of  Purusha,  or  Soul,  in  a certain  state  of  abstraction), 
it  is  said,  “ The  murderer  of  a Brahman  is  no  Brahman; 
the  Chandala  is  no  Chandala,  the  Paulkasa  no  Paulkasa, 
the  religious  mendicant  (Sramana)  no  religious  mendi- 
cant ; the  ascetic,  no  ascetic ; he  is  unconnected  with  all 
that  is  holy,  he  is  unconnected  with  sin.”  This  freedom 
from  sin  is  afterwards  attributed  to  the  party  possessed  of 

* Brihad  Ar.  Up.  iii.  5.  Roer’s  Trans,  p.  196-197. 

t Ib.  p.  204. 

f Ib.  213  et  seq.  On  another  occasion,  Janaka  is  represented  as 
saying  to  his  teacher,  “ I bow  to  thee  ; let  this  kingdom  of  the 
Vid^has  and  this  myself  be  thine.”  Ib.  p.  219. 

§ See  above,  pp.  17,  26,  etc. 


23 


178 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


the  knowledge  of  Brahma.*  The  Paulkasa  and  Chandala 
have  already  occurred,  in  the  Purusha  Medha.f  All 
offensiveness  in  them  and  all  pre-eminence  in  others,  it 
is  insinuated,  vanishes  from  the  view  of  the  knower  of 
Brahma,  The  principle  here  involved,  as  the  teaching- 
goes,  is  of  general  application.  “ The  Brahma  sliould 
disown  a person,  who  considers  the  Brahma  (caste)  as 
something  different  from  his  (self) ; the  Kshatra  should 
disown  a person,  who  considers  the  Kshatra  (caste)  as  some- 
thing  from  (his)  self ; the  world  should  disown  a person 
who  considers  the  world  as  something  different  from  (his) 
self.”  J That  there  was  some  novelty  in  this  pantheistic 
and  anti-vedic  teaching;  was  admitted  : “ That  this  know- 
ledge  in  former  times  was  not  possessed  by  a Brahman 
(thou  knowest  thyself),  but  I will  explain  it  to  thee.Ӥ 
it  was,  generally  speaking,  not  reduced  to  practice  in 
society,  the  Indian  speculatists  preferring  unnatural  ac- 
commodations to  the  ancient  literature  and  ritual  of  the 
country  to  the  setting  themselves  forth  as  distinct  and 
marked  reformers. 

In  the  Chhdndoyya  Upanishad,  associated  with  the 
8ama  Veda,— a portion  of  which  agrees  with  the  Brihad 
A'ranyaka  Upanishad,  1|  and  which  may  consecjuently  h 
supposed  to  he  somewhat  connected  Avith  it  in  time,— Ave 
find  a certain  kind  of  scrupulosity  as  to  food  brought  to 
notice.  “Ushashti,  son  of  Chakra  Avho  had  forsaken  Kuru 

* Ib.  pp.  228,  241.  See  above,  pp.  131-2. 

t Ib.  p.  243-4.  § Ib.  p.  263. 

II  Brihad  Aranyalca  Upanishad,  vi.  2 seq.=(with  the  modification 
ot  some  words)  Chhaud.  v.  3-10.  See  liuer’s  Trans,  of  Br.  Ar. 
Up.  p.  261. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  UPANISHADAS.  179 

% 

mth  his  wife  lived  in  great  distress  in  Ihhyagrama  (the 
village  of  an  elej^hant  driver).  Of  the  elephant-keeper 
eating  some  Kulmasha  (a  coarse  bean)  he  begged  (food). 
He  (the  elephant-keeper)  said,  ‘I  have  nothing  but  what 
yon  see  before  me.’  ‘ Give  me  of  it,’  said  he.  He  gave 
him  of  it,  and  ofl’ered  him  some  drink.  ‘Were  I (he  said) . 
to  take  that,  I shonld  swallow  the  remnant  of  another’s 
drink.’  ‘ Is  not  that  also  [the  beans]  a remnant  V ‘ I 
cannot  live  nithoiit  eating  that ; hut  drink  I can  command 
at  pleasure.’  Having  ate  thereof,  he  presented  the  remain- 
der to  his  wife.  She  had  before  partaken  of  the  same, 
and  [therefore]  took  it  and  laid  it  by.  On  the  morning, 
rising  from  his  bed,  he  exclaimed,  ‘ Alas,  if  I could  obtain 
a little  food,  I could  earn  some  wealth.  A king  is  sacri- 
ficing in  the  neighbourhood,  he  would  surely  employ  me 
to  perform  all  his  functions.’  His  wife  said  to  him,  Here 
are  the  beans,  (take  them.)  and  eating  of  them  go  quickly 
to  the  sacrifice.”*  Hunger  is  here  made  the  excuse  for 
eating  the  coarse  provisions  of  a man  of  lower  grade,  while 
the  drinking  of  his  water,  for  which  an  excuse  was  not 
readily  forthcoming,  is  avoided.  The  scrupulosity  indi- 
cated seems  to  have  had  principally  in  view  the  preserva- 
tion of  status,  which  was  really  the  aim  of  many  subsequent 
caste  regulations.  A microscopic  view  of  gi'adations,  and 
supposed  degradations  connected  with  them,  was  soon  taken 
by  the  Indians.  In  this  same  Upanishad,  the  bnth  of  the 
Chandala  follows  that  of  dogs  and  swine,  though  it  resolves 
them  all  into  Brahma  himself. f 

* Clihand.  Up.  (Bib.  Ind.)  i.  10,  p.  80,  et  seq.  and  Rajendralal’s 
Trans,  pp.  27-28. 

f Chhand.  Up.  v.  10.  (p.  35G). 


180 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Little  is  to  be  found  bearing  on  our  subject  in  the  older 
Minor  Upanishads. 

In  the  Taittariya  Upanishad,  which  forms  a portion  of 
the  Taittariya  ATanyaka  of  the  Black  Yajur-Veda  (chap- 
ters 7-9,)  and  which  is  also  found  in  the  collection  of  the 
Uj)ani.?hads  of  the  Atharva  Veda*, — the  following  passage, 
which  forms  a key  to  the  limited  respect  paid  by  the  followers 
of  the  Upani.shads  to  the  gods,  forefathers,  relatives, 
teachers.  Brahmans,  etc.,occm-s : — “ Let  there  be  no  neglect 
of  the  duties  towards  the  gods  and  the  forefathers.  Let 
the  mother  he  a god  (to  thee).  Let  the  father  be  a god 
(to  thee).  All  unblameahle  works  ought  to  be  performed — 
not  any  other.  All  the  praiseworthy  doings  of  us  (the 
teachers)  ought  to  be  respected  by  thee — not  any  others. 
The  Brahmans  who  are  better  than  we,  it  ought  to  be  thy 
effort  to  provide  with  a seat.”  “ Then,”  “ as  there  (in  thy 
neighboui’hood)  all  the  Brahmans,  who  are  of  sober  judg- 
ment,— who  are  meek  and  desirous  of  performing  then- 
duties, — whether  they  act  by  themselves  or  be  appointed 
by  another, — as  such  Brahmans  act  among  them,  so  also 
act  thou  among  them.”f  All  this  is  by  way  of  accom- 
modation.” “ The  Upani.shads,”  as  Dr.  Roer  correctly 
says,  “ acknowledge  the  gods  of  the  Vedas  in  name  [and 
the  same  remark  is  aiiplicable  to  the  distinctions  among 
men],  but  not  in  reality ; for  their  whole  nature  is  altered, 
since  from  the  state  of  divinity  they  are  degraded  to  beings 
of  an  inferior  order.  ”;jl  They  are  recognized  only  as 

* See  Translation  of  Taittiriya,  etc.  by  Dr.  Roth.  1 i. 

I Tait.  Up.  Shiksha  Valli,  An.  xi.  Rder,  pp.  13-14. 

f Introduction  to  Taitt.  Up.  p.  7. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  UPANISHADAS.  181 


manifestations  in  finity  of  the  infinite — the  vSupreme  Self. 
“ The  Vedanta  (the  more  orthodox  system  of  the  Upani- 
shads),”  Dr.  Rcier  coiTectly  adds,  in  another  place,  “ also 
maintained  that  the  acquisition  of  truth  is  independent  of 
caste  or  any  other  distinction,  and  that  the  highest  know- 
ledge which  is  the  chief  end  of  man,  cannot  be  imparted 
by  the  Vedas ; yet  it  insisted  that  a knowledge  of  the 
V edas  was  necessary  to  prepare  the  mind  for  the  highest 
knowledge.”*  It  was  by  this  fictitious  deference  to  the 
Vedas  that  the  supporters  of  the  Vedanta,  while  in  reality 
superseding  these  works,  conciliated  their  orthodox  friends. 
The  less  orthodox  schools,  as  the  Sankhya,  acted  a more 
independent  part,  if  we  except,  perhaps,  the  founder  of  that 
school.  Dr.  Max  Muller  thus  writes : — “ Kapila,  an  athe- 
istic philosopher  of  the  purest  water,  was  tolerated  by 
the  Brahmans,  because,  however  he  differed  from  their 
theology,  he  was  ready  to  sign  the  most  important 
article  of  their  faith — the  divine  origin  and  infallibility 
of  scripture. ”f  But  their  tenets,  as  bearing  on  our 
subject,  we  may  afterwards  notice  in  connexion  with  the 
relations  of  Buddhism  to  Caste. 

In  the  Prashna  Upanishad,  the  Kshatra  (as  the  power) 
and  the  Brahma  (as  the  orderer  of  rites)  are  represented 
as  founded  on  life,  or  Prajapati,  of  whom,  it  is  said, 
“ Thou  art  a Vrdtya,”1^  (as  a non-initiated  Brahman) — 
holy  by  nature,  there  having  been  none  to  perform  the 

* Introd.  to  Svetashavatara  Up.  p.  36. 

t Review  of  Muir’s  Text  in  Times,  10th  April,  1858. 

f Prasli.  Up.  ii.  6.  11.  Vratya  literally  means  one  of  the  mul- 
titude. 


182 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


rites  in  tliy  behalf.  In  this  Upanishad,  the  Vedanta  doc- 
trine scarcely  appears  in  a definite  form. 

4.  We  conclude  this  long  section  of  our  -work  by 
referring  to  the  Siitras,  the  last  class  of  the  Vedic  works 
so-called, — -which  form  a connecting  link  between  the 
Brahmanas  and  the  Law-Books  comprehended  under  the 
name  of  Smr'iti,  or  Remembering, 

The  Sutras  are  written  generally  in  the  form  of  brief 
jNIemorial  Aphorisms,  as  indicated  by  their  name  of  Siitra 
or  Thread.  Dr.  Max  Muller  makes  them  range  between 
the  5’ears  600 — 200  before  Christ.  They  glean  much 
from  the  Vedas  and  the  Brahmanas  ; but  it  is  only 
in  so  far  as  they  give  a legal  form  to  incidental  notices 
which  occur  in  tlie  older  works,  and  make  allusions  to 
written  laws  and  interpretations  that  they  are  of  much 
use. 

“ The}’-  contain  the  quintessence,”  Dr.  Muller  says, 
“ of  all  the  knowledge  which  the  Brahmans  had  accumu- 
lated during  many  centuries  of  study  and  meditation.”* 
They  are  based  upon  the  Shruti  (comprehending  the 
Vedic  hymns  and  the  Brahmanas)t ; and,  in  some  instances 
are  on  this  account  called  the  Shrauta  Sutras.  Those  of 
them  which  teach  the  mode  of  performing  the  Vedic 

* Hist  of  A.  Sans  Lit.  p.  74. 

f Dr.  Muller  (ib.  p.  7C)  ingeniously  says,  “ The  reason  why  the 
Brahmanas,  which  are  evidently  so  much  more  modern  than  the 
Mantras,  were  allowed  to  participate  in  the  name  of  Shruti,  could  only 
have  been  because  it  was  from  these  theological  compositions,  and  not 
from  the  simple  old  poetry  of  the  hymns,  that  a supposed  divine 
authority  could  be  derived  from  the  greater  number  of  the  ambitious 
claims  of  the  Brahmans.” 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  SUTRAS.  183 


sacrifices  are  callled  Kalpa  SiUras  ; and  even  tlie  Brah- 
mans themselves,  such  as  Kumarila,  admit  that,  though 
authoritative,  they  are  “ composed,  by  human  authors,” 
“like  Mashaka,  Baudhayana,  Apastaraba,  A'slivalayana, 
Katyayana  and  others.”*  They  are  to  be  distinguished  from 
the  Smdrtta  Sutras,  the  Siitras  of  the  Smriti,  or  the  Sutras 
of  Tradition,  which  form  the  Law  Books-  Varieties  of 
them  are  the  Gnhya  Siitras,  which  treat  of  rites  to  be 
performed  by  householders,  principally  for  the  benefit 
of  their  families;  and  the  Sdmayacharika  Sutras,  which 
regulate  rites  to  be  performed  by  individuals  on  their  own 
account,  and  the  religious  services  of  everyday  life.f 

The  most  important  of  the  Sutras  to  which  the  public 
has  access  are  “ The  Shrautastitras  of  Katyayana,  with 
Extracts  from  the  Commentaries  of  Karka  and  Yajnika- 
deva,”  published  by  the  learned  and  indefatigable  Dr. 
Weber,  as  the  third  volume  of  the  text  of  the  White 
Yajur  Veda  and  its  adjuncts. 

In  the  Sutras  now  referred  to  the  Slmdra  is  plainly 
declared  not  to  have  the  right  (adhikdra)  of  sacrifice 
enjoyed  by  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  and  Vaishya.  In 
support  of  this  dictum,  some  quotations  are  made  from 
the  Brahmanas  which  we  have  already  introduced.  It  is 
then  found  that  the  Shudra  is  not  to  be  invested  with  the 
sacred  string,  and  has  not,  like  the  higher  Varnas,  the 
right  of  hearing,  committing  to  memory,  or  reciting 
Vedic  texts.  For  listening  to  these  texts  he  ought  to  have 
his  ears  shut  up  with  lead  or  lac,  by  way  of  punishment ; for 
pronouncing  them,  his  tongue  cut  out;  and  for  committing 


* Hist,  of  A.  S.  Lit.  pp.  97-8. 


f See  Muller,  p.  200,  etc. 


184 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


them  to  memory,  his  body  cut  in  two.*  The  Rathakdra  is 
somewhat  more  favoured,  as  far  as  his  presence  at  the 
ddhdna,  or  initial  services  of  sacrifices,  is  concerned  ;t  and 
tliisit  is  said  is  owing  to  the  distinction  of  his  employment 
for  a livelihood,  and  because  it  is  said,  “ A Mahishya  is 
produced  by  a Kshatriya  on  a female- Vaishj^a  ; a Karani 
is  produced  by  a Vaishya  on  a iem^le-Shiidra  ; and  a Ra- 
thakdra is  produced  by  Mahishya  on  a female.  Karani.” 
This  brings  us  to  the  fictional  views  of  the  Law-Books.  J 
Chiefs  of  the  Nishddas  have  the  privilege  of  offering 
the  boiled  seeds  of  the  Gavedhuka  (coix  barbata)  on 
the  occasion  of  hallowing  a new  hoase.§  Of  the  Vaishya 
and  Rdjanya,  it  is  held  that  they  are  not  entitled  to 
keep  burning  the  sacred  fire  garhapati,  or  that  of  a house- 
holder, which  is  the  privilege  of  the  Rrdkman.\\  In  select- 
ing Brdhmans  for  services,  as  connected  witli  the  nuptial 
fire,  reference  must  be  made  to  the  families  which  repre- 
sent the  respective  Rishis  to  which  the  Vedic  texts  are 
said  to  have  been  communicated.  This  the  commen- 
tary couples  with  the  recognitions  of  shdkhdntara,  differ- 
ence in  the  Branch  or  School  of  the  ministrant.^ 

* 511^7  fTrar  ^Tirgufr 

Os 

g-^iT'T  rsT'frd?;  itrtvr  ^ Shrautasutra  Kdt. 

i.  1.  6.  (p.  9). 

f lb.  i.  1.  9.  et  seq. 

J See  above,  pp.  53,  60,  65. 

§ Slirautasutras  of  Kat.  i.  1. 12.  (p.  16). 

II  Ib.  i.  6.  16,  p.  110. 

Ib.  V.  6.  1,  p.  367.  See  also  x.  9.  30,  pp.  832-3. 


ORIGIN  or  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  StlTRAS.  185 


In  the  Bandhdynna  Siitras  of  the  Black  Yajur  Veda,* 
we  have  found  several  passages  worthy  of  notice. 

“The  Bridimans  acting  as  Ritvijes,”  it  is  enjoined, 
“ ought  to  be  perfect  in  birth,  associational  lineage 
((/olra),  instruction  (shriita),  and  conduct,  without  fault  of 
body,  without  scar,  not  addicted  to  going  beyond  the  fences 
(of  their  town),  not  goers  to  the  Antyaja  (those  of  low 
birth,  dwelling  beyond  the  enclosures  of  towns),  not  pro- 
nomicersofhdleya-vdleya  (that  is,  not  of  vulgarized  speech), 
having  sons  and  daughters  onl}’-  of  regular  birth,  having 
no  connection  with  strange  women  or  women  found  with 
child  at  their  marriage,  not  (themselves)  posterior  in  birth, 
not  adopted.  The  Adhvar}ui  ought  to  be  of  the  Angiras 
(order)  ; the  Brahma  of  the  Vasishtha  ; the  Hota,  of  the 
Vishvainitra ; and  the  Udgata,  of  the  Kushika.f  It  is  also 
said  by  some  that  the  Sadasya  (superintending  priest) 
should  be  of  Vasishtha,  of  Bhrign,  or  of  Angiras,  right  in 
birth,  learning,  and  conduct.’’^ 

The  institutor  of  a sacrifice  is  represented  as  connecting, 
in  supplicatory  transference,  robbery  with  the  Vvdtya 
and  t'iMdra;  labour,  with  the  Vaishya  ; knowledge,  with 
the  Rajanyahandhu  ; Brahmacide,  with  the  Nishada ; 

* For  the  use  of  a MS.  of  these  Sutras  I am  indebted  to  Sadashiva 
Bhatta  of  Wui,  next  to  Mahabaleshwar,  the  highest  ti’rtha  (sacred 
place  of  passage)  of  the  Krishna  river.  These  Siitras  derive  their 
name  from  Baudhiiyana,  their  collector  and  arranger. 

•}•  The  classes  of  priests  specified  are  those  who  take  the  different 
parts  of  the  sacrificial  rites.  See  before,  p.  102. 

:j;  Baudhayana  Sutras,  Prashna  ii.  2.  (fob  19  of  MS.)  The  pas- 
sage goes  on  to  say  that  the  officiating  priests  should  have  no  imperfec- 
tion of  body,  etc. 


21 


18G 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


})aradise  (voclas),  with  the  Kimpurusha  (dwellers  in  the 
X.  E.  mountains),  barbarous  speech  (mlechha),  with  the 
residents  in  forests  ; repose,  with  the  Videhas;  the  takman 
(disease)  with  the  Mu j avals  f cough,  with  the  Dundu- 
hhas  ; bile,  with  the  IkshvciKiis  ; preparation  for  sacrifice, 
with  Kalinga  (a  country  contiguous  to  the  sources  of  the 
Ganges),  and  so  forth. f 

The  Mantras  to  be  used  respectively  by  Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Rathakaras,  at  the  adJidna  are 
expressly  prescribed.;}:  The  Chandas,  or  Metres  to  be  used 
by  the  three  first  of  these  classes  are  mentioned  as  in  the 
Brabmanas.§  The  Munja  or  sacred  string  of  the  loins|| 
of  the  Brahman  learning  the  Vedas,  it  is  said,  should 
be  of  the  Darbha  grass  ; and  of  the  Vaishja,  of  the  hair 
of  the  black  antelope.^ 

In  the  HiranyakesJu  Sutras, — with  the  use  of  an  old 
manuscript  of  which  I have  been  kindl}^  favoured  by 
Tathya  Shastri  Abhjmnkara  of  \Vai, — we  have  found 
several  curious  passages,  also  bearing  on  the  progress  of 
Caste  arrangements. 

Ill  one  of  them,  after  it  is  said  that  the  Braliman, 
Rajanya,  and  Vaishya  have  the  Vedddhyana,  or  liberty 
of  repeating  the  Vedas,  it  is  added  that  their  sacrifices 
are  established  in  the  Brahman,  because  all  the  sacrifices 
are  not  forbidden  to  him,  that  is,  he  has  a right  to 

See  before,  p.  141.  f Baudli.  Sutras,  ii.  2. 

I Baudh.  Slit.  ii.  17.  § lb.  vi.  13. 

II  The  Munja  is  to  be  distinguished  from  the  string  worn  over  the 
right  shoulder.  The  period  for  which  the  Munja  is  to  be  worn  is 
mentioned  onwards. 

Ih. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  SUTRAS,  187 


perform  every  Iclnd  of  sacrifice,  Avliile  the  others  have  not 
this  right.  It  is  also  added  that  the  llajanya  and  Vaishya 
have  the  privilege  of  the  (daily)  Agnihotra  and  of  the 
ceremonies  of  the  new  and  full  moon,  while  the  JBnih- 
maus  alone  have  the  privilege  of  the  Soma  sacrifice  ; and 
that  the  Nislidda  and  the  Rathakdra  have  the  privilege 
of  the  ddhdna  (initial  ceremonies)  of  the  Agnihotra  of 
the  new  and  full  moon  ceremonies.*  In  conformity  with 
the  dicta  of  the  Brahmanas,  the  Vasanta  season  is  the 
adhan  time  of  the  Bj'dhman  ; the  Gii?hma  and  Hemanta, 
of  the  Rdjanya  ; the  Varsha  of  the  RatliaVara  ; and  the 
Sharad,  of  the  Vaishya;  while  the  Shishira  is  common 
to  them  all.f  Special  mantras  are  prescribed,  as  in  the 
Baudhayana  Sutras  for  these  four  castes.|  The  horse  for 
the  Ashvamedha  sacrifice,  as  found  suitable,  may  he 
brought  from  the  house  of  a Brahman,  a Rajanya,  or 
a Vaishya,  as  the  case  may  be.§  The  portion  in  sacrifice 
which  falls  to  the  institutor  of  the  sacrifice  (VajarnanaJ 
is  to  be  ate  by  the  Brahman,  but  not  by  the  Rdjanya  or 
the  Vaishya. Silence  is  to  be  observed  by  partiesof 
the  three  sacrificial  classes,  when  a Shudra  enters  to 
remove  their  natural  defilements  (alluded  to  with  dis- 
gusting particularity)  ; and  thus  the  servile  position  of 
the  Shudra  is  recognized.^  The  sun  is  addressed  as  the 

CN 

iTfUr  R RqKIT-  Hiranyakeshi  Sutras,  iii.  1. 

I Ib.  iii.  2.  J Ib.  iii.  3. 

§ Ib.  iii.  4.  II  Hir.  Sut.  vi.  4. 

Hir.  Sii.  X.  1. 


188 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Cliaram  (Brahman  association),  as  the  Shhclra,  and  as 
the  A'rya  (probably  here  meaning’  the  Kajanya  and  the 
Vaishya).*  A Shudra  or  A'rya  desiring  the  skin  of  an 
animal  slain  in  sacrifice  is  to  receive  it  from  the  Agmdhra 
Brahman,  separating’  himself  from  the  sacrificial  party 
by  a circle  surrounding  the  sacrificial  pit-  |'  In  the 
Agni.shtoma  sacrifice,  the  Ni.diada,  as  well  as  the  Valshya, 
and  Rajanya,  may  three  times  drink,  from  an  earthen 
vessel,  of  the  juice  of  the  roots  of  the  Udambara  (Ficus 
g’lomerata),  while  a Brahman  has  to  drink  of  it  onl}^  once.j: 

The  sections  from  the  nineteenth  to  the  twenty-fifth 
inclusive  are  in  the  manuscript  in  our  hands  denominated 
the  Iliranyalceshi  Smdrtta  Si'ilras, — a denomination  in 
which  their  traditional  character  is  recognized,  the  Shranta 
Sutras  being  more  directly  founded  on  the  Vedic  works 
comprehended  under  the  name  of  S/intti  (“  what  was 
heard”)  in  regular  Vedic  recitation”).  In  theii’  com- 
mencement, it  is  intimated  that  the  Upanayana  (or  sacri- 
ficial  endowment  with  the  string)  of  a Brahman  shmdd 
take  place  in  his  seventh  year  j that  of  a Rajanya,  in  his 
eleventh  ; and  that  of  a Vaishya,  in  his  twelfth.  The  sea- 
sons for  this  sacrament,  in  the  case  of  each  of  these  classes, 
are  mentioned  as  already  noted  by’  us  on  the  authority  of 
other  works.  The  ceremonial,  in  its  difl’erent  particulars, 
is  prescribed.  It  ought  to  be  performed  during  the  first  part 
of  the  lunar  mansion  (nakshatra)  Puna.  A couple  of  Brah- 

* Hir.  Su.  X.  4.  t Ilir.  Sil.  xvi.  1. 

t nil’,  Su.  xvii.  1.  It  is  because  the  roots  of  this  fig  yield  a watery 
juice  that  it  is  called  the  “ water-tree”  by  the  natives  of  India,  and  not 
as  “ being  found  (as  some  of  our  botanists  tell  us)  near  springs  or 
water  courses.” 


OraGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  SUTEAS.  189 


mans  are  to  be  feasted  ; the  Pimyalia  mantra  is  to  be  re- 
peated; tbevoutb  is  to  be  sbaved  (in  tlie  bead)  and  de- 
corated ; tlie  household  fires  have  to  be  kindled  in  their  re- 
spective positions  ; the  Darbha  grass  (Poa  eynosnroides) 
has  to  be  scattered  around  them  ; and  the  articles  required 
for  use — the  stone,  the  unwashed  (new)  clothing,  the  skin  of 
a deer,  etc.,  the  miuija  (or  temporary  stiing)  three  times  to 
circumvent  the  loins,  the  rod  of  theBelva  (iBgle  marmelos), 
or  of  the  Palasha  (Butea  frondosa)  for  the  Brahman,  of  the 
Nagrodha  (Ficus  Indica)  for  the  I vdjanya,  and  the  Udumbara 
(Ficus  glomerata)  for  the  Vaishya,  the  fuel  of  twenty-one 
kinds  of  wood,  the  frame  of  wood  (to  put  on  each  side  of  the 
fire  pits),  the  blowpipe,  theDarvi  (clarified-butter  spoon),  the 
bunch  of  Darbha  grass,  and  the  cup  for  the  clarified-butter, 
are  to  be  put  into  their  places.  The  sacred  fire  is  to 
be  kindled  (for  the  consumption,)  in  the  homa  rite,  of  the 
fuel  and  the  clarified  butter.  The  sacred  thread  has  to 
be  put  over  the  shoulder  of  the  candidate  for  initiation  ; 
the  miiiija  has  to  be  put  round  the  loins  ; the  mantras  have 
to  be  repeated  by  the  Brahmans,  and  taught  to  the  party 
now  initiated  by  them  ; and  the  youth  has  to  be  blessed  in 
varied  forms.  Clothing  has  to  be  given  to  him  according  to 
Ins  caste  : — the  skin  of  a black  antelope  to  the  Brahman  ; 
the  raurava  (skin  of  a common  antelope)  to  the  Rajanya ; 
and  the  skin  of  a goat  to  the  Vaishya.  Specified  mantras, 
varied  according  to  caste,  have  to  be  repeated  by  the  initiated. 
Dakshina  (douceurs  Avith  the  right  or  lucky  hand*)  are 

* On  one  occasion,  when  I happened  to  be  walking  round  one  of  the 
lingdlayas  at  Elephanta  with  my  left  hand  towards  the  quondam  object 
of  worship,  a Brahman  of  the  old  school,  interested  in  my  safety, 
attempted  to  put  me  into  the  right  position  that  I might  escape  injury  ! 


190 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


to  be  given  to  Brahmans.*  No  symbolical  meaning  seems 
associated  Anth  the  complicated  service. 

In  the  dan-ihoma  (burnt  offering  effected  simply  by 
casting  butter,  etc.  into  the  ffame  -uitli  a ladle),  the  Brah- 
man’s prepared  dish  {mantha)  is  to  be  of  clarified  butter; 
the  Kshatriya’s,  of  milk ; the  Vaish}m’s,  of  whey  ; and  the 
Shudra’s,  of  water,  f 

The  twenty -sixth  and  tAventy-seventh  sections  of  the 
Sutras  of  Hiranvakeshi  are  called  Sdmaydchdrika  or 
Dhurma  Sutras,  that  is  Sutras  for  regulating  conventional 
practices  and  duties,  vieAA'ed  as  incumbent  on  indiA'iduals, 
independently  of  the  great  ceremonial  services. 

This  division  of  the  Avork  sets  out  with  the  mention  of 
the  four  primitive  castes,  Avhich  it  says  are  recognized  by 
the  Vedas.  The  investiture  Avilh  the  string,  the  reading 
of  the  Vedas,  and  the  keeping  of  the  sacred  fire  are 
“ fruitless  works”  for  the  Shudra,  aaIiosc  duty  is  serAuce. 
Seasons  of  sacrifice  are  prescribed  for  the  three  first  castes 
(but  not  for  the  fourth).  The  three  first  classes  should, 
after  initiation,  spend  at  least  twelve  years  as  students 
(Brahmacharis),  Avith  their  A'charya,  or  religious  instruc- 

* Hiranyakeshi  Slit.  xix.  1 et  seq. 

•j"  Ib.  xxiii.  10. 

1 The  commencement  of  t he  Hiranyakeshi  Samayachai'ika  Sutras  is 
the  following  : aiilffT:  -cq-JlR  siRirr^rjir  TITR 

: — NoAV-iu-what-follows  Ave  unfold  the  conventional  practices  and 
duties,  the  authority  (being)  the  intelligent  in  conventionalities  (and) 
the  Yedas.  “ Samayacharika’’  (says  Ilaridatta,  as  quoted  by  Muller, 
Hist,  of  A.  S.  p.  101)  is  derived  from  sarnaya  (agreement)  and  dclidra 

(custom) Rules  founded  Aipon  sarnaya  are  called  samayacharas, 

from  Avhich  (is)  the  adjecti\'e  sdmayaclidrilca In  our  Siitra,  Dharina 

means  laAv.” 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  SUTRAS.  191 


lor.*  The  pronoun  (of  rcspecl)  is  to  be  used  wlien  the 
wife  of  a Brahman  is  addressed ; while  those  of  a Eajanya 
and  Vaishya  may  he  mentioned  with  their  hare  names.']' 
The  Brahmachari  should  not  enter  on  the  employment  of  the 
merchant,  or  shopkeeper.  He  should  abstain  from  imjjure 
works,  such  as  holding  intercourse  with  Shudras,  forming 
connections  with  non-ATyau  women,  eatuig  forbidden  flesh, 
drinking  urine  and  fceces,  touching  the  vessel  rendered  impure 
by  the  leavings  of  a Shudi’a  or  of  an  A'rya.|  The  Brahman 
who  goes  to  a Kshatrya  woman  should  give  a thousand 
cows  or  bullocks  for  an  atonement ; to  a Vaishya  woman, 
a liuiub’ed  ; and  to  a Shudra  woman,  ten.  The  offending 
woman  is  to  he  banished  to  the  wilderness.^  The  Brahma- 
chari is  not  to  carry  arms ; but  if  any  person  come  upon  him 
with  intent  to  kill  him,  he  may  use  a sword  (or  any  other 
weapon)  at  haud.|| 

After  marriage,  when  the  Brahman  enters  into  the 
ashrama  of  a Householder,  his  first  duty  is  performing 
t\\e  sthdlipaka — the  dressing  rice  for  the  homa,  or  domestic 
sacrifice,  on  the  day  previous  to  which  he  has  to  dine  only 
once  and  to  abstain  from  his  couch,  sleeping  on  the 
oTOund,  and  afterwards  to  conduct  life  in  the  most  cere- 
monious  manner.  When  he  has  erected  an  altar  of  clay 
and  drawn  upon  it  three  lines  from  East  to  West  and 
three  from  North  to  South,  he  has  to  sjninkle  water  upon 
it,  and  to  throw  away  the  remainder,  partly  to  the  North 

* Ilir.  Su  xsvi.  1.  (Prashna  i.  of  Sam.  Dh.  Siit.) 

f Ib.  xxvi  4.  1 Ib.  xxvi.  G. 

§ ilFTT  Ipir  R'Tf  5TT  cT?!  STf 

Ib.  H Ib.  xxvi.  7. 


102 


WriAT  CASTE  IS. 


and  partly  to  the  East.  Other  rites  are  to  l)e  performed 
by  him  according  to  the  principle,  that  great  happi- 
ness is  to  be  o))tained  by  each  Varna  following  its 
own  established  rites  ;*  while  if  the  contrary  is  the  case, 
misery  will  be  the  consecpience,  the  Brahman  being  born 
a Chandala,  the  Bdjamja  a Paidkasa,  and  the  Vaishya 
a Vena.  It  is  added,  that  the  occurrence  of  dosha  (or  fault) 
follows  the  contact,  and  conversation  with,  or  look  at,  a 
Chandala.  The  atonement  for  a Brahman  speaking  with 
or  touching  such  a low  person  is  bathing,  and  for  looking 
at  him,  the  actual  viewing  of  light  (as  of  the  sun).  The 
ATyas  (the  three  higher  Varnas)  have  to  make  offerings  to 
the  Yishvedevas  (all  the  gods);  and  the  Shudras  have  to  do 
the  same,  day  after  day,  making  three  sips.  The  hairs  of  the 
body  (of  three  kinds)  have  to  be  shaved  on  the  eighth  and 
fifteenth  days  of  the  month,  when  water  is  to  be  touched. 
On  the  arrival  of  a learned  Brahman,  he  ought  to  be 
seated  and  fed  ; while  a Rdjanya  and  Vaishya  arriving 
should  only  be  saluted.  If  a Shudra  come,  he  should  be 
fed  and  set  to  household  work,  (the  claim  for  his  service 
being  put  in  force).j'  The  Brahman,  it  is  taught  by 
tradition  {smartye),  may  read  the  Vedas  to  Rajanyas 
and  Vaishyas  and  even  serve  them  wdien  he  is  in  cir- 
cumstances of  difficulty.  In  ordinary  circumstances,  he 
may  occupy  himself  in  all  kinds  of  learning,  as  that  of 
the  Upanishads,  and  interpretation  of  calamities.  Learn- 
ing and  reciting  (the  Vedas),  sacrificing  for  himself 
and  for  others,  receiving  and  giving  gifts,  are  the  (six) 
Avorks  of  a Brahman.  These,  with  the  exception  of 

* m ^^iTRs:r#  'Trq’TKmfi 

'•si  Nj 

I Ilir.  Sii.  (Bum.)  xxvii.  1. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  StJTRAS.  193 


reciting  the  Vedas,  sacrificing-  for  others,  and  receiv- 
ing- gifts,  are  the  works  of  a Kshatrhja,  who  has  also 
those  of  waging  war  ?ind  ruling.  The  works  of  the 
Vaishya,  with  the  exception  of  waging  war  and  ruling, 
are  those  of  the  Kshalriya,  with  agriculture,  keeping- 
of  cattle,  and  engaging-  in  merchandise,  added.  It 
is  enjoined  that  those  who  do  not  act  according-  to  the 
Institutes  should  be  taken  to  the  prince  (rajanya),  who 
should  punish  them  according  to  the  decision  of  learned 
Brahmans,  avoiding-  killing  and  enslaving  (ddsya)  in  the 
case  of  Brahmans,  though  not  in  the  case  of  the  other 
Castes.*  Eight  kinds  of  marriage  are  sanctioned,  as  in 
the  Law  Books.  The  benefits  of  entering-  the  four 
ashramas,  of  the  Bramacliari,  Grihastlia,  Vanaprastha, 
and  the  Parivraja,  and  the  conduct  required  in  each 
of  these  orders,  are  mentioned  much  as  in  the  Law  Books. 
The  Parivraja,  in  the  most  advanced  ashrama,  desiring- 
liberation,  should  lose  sight  of  the  distinction  between 
truth  and  falsehood,  pleasure  and  pain,  beloved  and 
unbeloved  objects,  and  occupy  himself  in  tlie  desire  to 
have  spiritual  knowledge  and  well-being.  The  Vana- 
prastha, going  into  the  forests,  should  aim  at  the  same 
objects.  He  should  live  on  roots  and  fruits,  and  sleep 
on  the  grass.  The  party  who  does  not  desire  to  live 
habitually  in  this  state  may  marry  and  discharge  his 
household  duties.  He  may  still  be  esteemed  a Vana- 
prastha if  he  live  for  a year  gleaning  in  the  fields,  not 
using  in  this  interval  salt,  honey,  or  flesh,  or  having  more 
than  two  vessels,  one  for  cooking  and  the  other  for  eating.f 
The  Avork  notices  certain  matters  on  the  authority  of 
* Ib.  xxvii.  9.  , I liir.  Sdm.  Sit.  .xxvii.  15. 

25 


194 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Ancient  Slilokas,  or  Shlokas  of  the  Pnranas,#  sucli  as  that 
there  have  keen  88,000  descendants  of  the  Kishis. 

The  duties  of  the  prince  are  specified  in  the  eighteen  lli 
section,  much  as  in  the  Law  Books.  He  onglit  to  have  at 
least  two  counsell or.s,  piu’e  and  truthful,  and  acipiaiuted  with 
the  duties  of  all  classes.  He  ought  to  he  regular  in  the 
discharge  of  his  own  duties,  healing  anus,  and  having  danc- 
ing, singing,  and  music  in  his  omi  house.  He  should  allow 
110  fear  of  thieves  to  he  in  his  country,  town,  or  forest. 
By  giving  power  (kshatra)  and  wealth  to  Brahmans, 
lie  will  he  rewarded  in  the  other  Avoiid.  He  should  not 
lake  the  property  of  Brahmans.  The  giving  to  them  of 
large  dakshina  is  eipiivalent  to  sacrifice.  He  ought  to 
ap])oint  hrave  and  good  men  for  the  protection  of  his 

* The  seventeenth  pafaJa  of  the  twenty-seventh  Prashna,  commences 
As  ith  these  words  : — JCHT  For  occurs 

in  the  index  at  the  end.  The  Bhavishya  Purana  is  referred  to  as  an 
authority  in  the  same  patala: — — In  the  Bha- 
vishya Purana,  there  is  a saying  of  Prajapati,  etc.  Either  this  portion  of 
the  Sutras  must  be  held  to  be  an  interpolation,  or  their  modern  origin 
must  be  admitted,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  they  bear  the  name  of 
lliranyakeshi.  In  regard  to  the  word  patala,  Dr.  Muller  (Hist.  A.  S. 
Lit.  p.  524)  thus  writes : — “We  find  that  several  of  the  Sutras  are 
divided  into  chapters  called  patalas.  This  is  a Avord  never  used  for  the 
subdivisions  of  the  Brahmanas.  Its  meaning  is  a cov’ering,  the  sur- 
rounding skin  or  membrane ; it  is  also  used  for  a tree.  If  so,  it  would 
seem  to  be  almost  synonymous  with  liber  and  3;0xos ; and  it  would 
mean  book,  after  meaning  originally  a sheet  of  paper  made  of  the 
surrounding  bark  of  trees.  If  Avriting  came  in  tOAvards  the  latter  half 
of  the  Siitra  period,  it  Avould  no  doubt  be  applied  at  the  same  time  to 
reducing  the  hymns  and  Brahmanas  to  a Avritten  form.  Previously  to 
that  time,  hoAvever,  Ave  are  bound  to  maintain  that  the  collection  of  the 
hymns,  and  the  immense  mass  of  the  Brahmana  literatui'e,  AA-ere  pre- 
served by  means  of  oral  tradition  only.” 


ORICxIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  SI/tRAS.  195 


people,  to  keep  a city  free  of  tlie  fear  of  thieves  (taskaras) 
for  the  extent  of  a yojana,  and  a village  for  the  extent  of  a 
krosha,  and  to  call  upon  the  people  residing  in  these 
hounds  to  make-good  the  thefts  which  may  occur  in  them. 
Taxes  (shulka)  should  he  raised  as  imposed,  hut  not 
taken  from  parties  learned  in  Vedic  works  (shrotriija), 
females  of  any  class,  young  people  acqniiing  knowledge, 
devotees,  Shudras  discharging  their  duties  (they  being  the 
property  of  others?  ),  the  blind,  the  dumh,  the  deaf,  the 
diseased,  and  beggars.  The  youth  who  Avithout  deliberate 
intention  goes  to  the  wife  of  another  person  or  to  a virgin, 
is  to  he  punished.  He  aa  Iio  repeatedly  does  this  has  toliaA  O 
his  member  excised,  or  to  he  deprived  of  Ins  property  and 
l)anished.  The  A'rya  having  connection  with  a Shudra 
Avoman  is  to  he  banished  ; a Shudra  having  connection 
AA  ith  an  A'rya  is  to  be  killed.  If  a person  goes  to  a 
AA'oman  of  his  oaaui  class  being  the  AA’ife  of  another,  he 
shall  have  the  fourth  part  of  his  tongue  cut  otf  for  the 
first  ofl’ence.  If  he  repeat  the  offence,  lie  shall  have  his 
Avhole  tongue  cut  out.  If  a Shudra  reproach  a dutiful 
A'rya,  or  put  liimself  on  equality  Avith  him  on  a road,  on 
a couch,  or  on  a seat,  he  is  to  be  beaten  with  a stick. 
For  murder,  theft,  seizing  (another’s)  land,  and  going  to 
the  wife  of  another,  a Shudra  is  to  he  killed,  and  a 
Brahman  to  liaA^e  his  eyes  extracted.*  ' All  this  elevates 
caste  to  its  own  summit,  as  in  the  Law  Books. 

* 3Tw:  5T3rrq-r  5rgr  arr^rVl  ?rc  HT“Trtrr- 

®s  > 

T?rr  tt^  5P-TraTirru#^  eirfrr^fr  AHirarR  qr- 

Ilir.  (Dh.)  Sii. 

xxvii.  19. 


196 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  A'pastamha  Samaydchdnica  Sutra  and  Dharma 
Sutra,  belong  to  the  same  Veda — the  Black- Yajnr, 
as  those  which  Ave  liaA  e iioaa'  reAneAA  ed.  They  have  been 
looked  at  by  Dr.  Muller,  Avho  thus  Avrites  of  them. 
“ A'pastamha,  in  his  Samavacharika  Sutras,  declares  dis' 
tinctly  that  there  are  four  Varnas,  the  Brahman,  the  Ksha- 
triya,  the  Vaishaya,  the  Shudra,  but  that  the  initiatory 
rites,  the  Upanayana  in  particular,  are  only  intended  for 
the  three  first  classes.  The  same  is  implied,  no  doid)t,  in 
the  other  Sutras  which  give  the  rules  as  to  the  proper  time 
Avhen  a young  Brahman,  a young  Kshatriya,  or  a young 
Vaishya  should  be  apprenticed  Avith  their  spiritual  tutors, 
but  never  say  at  Avhat  age  this  or  similar  ceremonies 
.should  be  performed  for  one  not  belonging  to  these  three 
Varnas.  Yet  they  never  exclude  the  Shudra  expressly, 
nor  do  they  represent  him  as  the  born  slave  or  client  of 
the  other  castes.  In  the  Dharma-sutras  the  social  degra- 
dation of  the  Shudra  is  as  great  as  in  the  later  Law  Books, 
and  the  same  crime,  if  committed  by  a Brahman  and  a 
Shudra,  is  visited  Avith  very  different  punishments.  Thus 
if  a member  of  the  three  Varnas  commits  adultery  Avith 
the  Avife  of  a Shudra,  he  is  to  be  banished  ; if  a Sluidra 
commits  adultery  Avith  the  Avife  of  a member  of  the  three 
Varnas,  he  is  to  be  executed.  If  a Shudra  abuses  an  honest 
member  of  the  three  Varnas,  his  tongue  is  to  be  cut  out. 
He  is  to  be  flogged  for  not  keeping  at  a respectful  distance. 
For  murder,  theft,  and  pillage  the  Shudra  is  executed  ; the 
Brahman,  if  caught  in  the  same  offences,  is  only  deprived 
of  his  eyesight.  This  is  the  same  iniquitous  laAA*,  Avhich  Ave 
find  in  the  later  Law  Books.  But  althouoh  the  distinc- 

O 

tion  between  the  Shudras  and  tlie  otlier  Varnas  is  so 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— NOTICES  IN  THE  Sl^JTRAS.  197 


sliarply  drawn  by  A'pastaniba,  he  admits  that  a Shiulra, 
if  he  obeys  the  law,  may  be  born  again  as  a Vaishya,  tlie 
Vaishya  as  a Kshatriya,  and  the  Ksliatriya  as  a Brah- 
man ; and  that  a Brahman  if  he  disregards  the  law,  will 
be  born  again  as  a Kshatriya,  the  Kshatriya  as  a A aisliya, 
and  the  Vaishya  as  a Sliudra.”*  This  passage  contains 
evidence  tliat  the  A pastamba  Samayacharika  and  Dliarma 
Si'dras  of  A'pastaniba  agree,  in  tlie  matters  mentioned, 
witli  those  of  Hiranyakeshi,  to  whicli  we  have  above 
referred.  They  both  exclude  the  Shudra  from  tlie  Upa- 
naj'ana  and  other  rites  to  which  the  higher  classes  have 
access.  Some  of  the  other  Sutras  do  the  same  thing, 
which  is  taught  by  implication,  as  noticed  by  Dr.  Miiller 
in  all  the  Yedic  Sutras. f The  enslavement  of  the  Shudra, 
I rather  think,  is  taken  for  granted  by  Hiranyakeshi,  when 
he  hints  at  the  easy  appropriation  of  him,  in  the  terms  we 
have  above  referred  to.J  The  iniquitous  degradation  of 
the  Shudra, — corresponding  with  that  of  the  Law  Books, — 
is  expressed  in  the  same  language  both  by  Hiranyakeshi 
and  A'pastamba.  It  is  quite  possible,  however,  from  the 
reference  made  to  the  “ Purana  Shlokas,”"  which  we  have 
noticed  in  a portion  of  the  Hiranyakeshi  Sutras,  that  it  is 
a posterior  addition  made  to  them,  expressly  to  effect 
their  agreement  with  the  Law  Books  and  other  later 
authorities. § A'pastamba’s  reference  to  a change  of 

* Hist,  of  A.  S.  Lit.  p.  207. 

t See  reference  to  the  Katayana  Shrauta-Sutras,  p.  183,  above. 

X See  p.  192. 

§ Dr.  Muller  in  a note  thus  di-aws  attention  to  an  instance  of  direct 
fraud  in  a matter  of  this  kind  in  later  times  : — “ Apast.  i.  6. 


198 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


places  in  future  births, — tlie  consequence  of  the  full 
development  of  the  doctrine  of  the  metempsjmhosis — 
occurs,  in  the  same  words  in  Hiranj'akeshi.* 

In  the  A’ sliraUiyana  Shvanta  SiVm,'\  associated  with 
the  Rig’-Yeda,  we  have  found  no  passages  referring  to 
Caste  which  are  not  anticipated  hy  our  extracts  from  the 
Brahmanas,  except  in  so  far  as  the  reputed  gofras, 
(families)  of  the  Brahmans,  and  the  progenitor  Rislils 
recognized  hy  them  in  the  pravara,  or  initial  invocation 
of  the  god  Agni,  with  the  names  of  ancient  Rishis  added, 
at  the  consecration  of  fire,  are  concerned.  These  yotras 
and  pravaras,  as  found  in  this  Sutra  are  tabulated  hy 
Dr.  Midler. VVe  shall  afterwards  have  to  notice  them 

II  later  works,  such  as  the  Sanskara-ganapati 

this  Siitra  of  A'p^ist^iraba,  which  excludes  the  Shiidras  from  initiation, 
has  been  so  altered  as  to  admit  them.  MS.  E.  I.  H.  912,  p.  16. 
5T>T  l | I iigrqTdTrf^rdT- 

rJirff  II — To  elFect  this  fraud  (if  a MS.  of  the  Maharashtra 

was  before  its  author),  nothing  more  was  necessary  than  to  overlook 
the  involved  but  unexpressed,  short  vowel  (n ) of  the  preceding  word 
forming  the  negative.  The  passage  in  Iliraiiyakeshi  .stands  thus  : — 

gfr  sr-q-er;  ^gr^T^rtTRjs^riT- 
qier^rlr^  ^JirPr.  (xxvi.  l).  All  that  was 
necessary  for  the  fraud  was  to  commence  the  quotation  without  picking 
up  the  negative  a from  shrei/ana  preceding  sMdrdndm.  The  Slnidra 
initiations,  etc.  effected  by  the  fraud,  notwithstanding,  were  not  to  be 
made  by  the  V edic  mantras  (still  confined  to  the  higher  Varnas)  but  by 
what  are  called  the  Nama-mantras — mantras  framed  on  the  principle 
of  the  mere  recognition  of  the  names  of  the  later  gods. 

* Hir.  Sii.  xxvii.  10. 

f For  the  copy  of  these  Siitras  which  we  have  used,  we  are  indebted 
to  Bhatpambhatta  Phadake  of  Wai. 

X Hist,  of  A.  S.  Lit.  pp.  380-G. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE-NOTICES  IN  THE  SUTRAS.  199 


in  connexion  with  the  still  existing-  divisions  in  the  Indian 
Brahmanhood. 

The  Grlhj/a  Sutra, — or  Sutra  of  Domestic  Rites, — of 
A shvala}'ana,  also  furnishes  us  with  little  material  con- 
nected with  caste.  The  lowly  Clrandala  is  thus  associated 
with  other  beings,  in  the  distribution  of  rice  at  the  Paka- 
yajna  (the  sacrifice  of  cooked  meats*),  resorted  to  on  several 
domestic  occasions: — “ Let  anna  be  thrown  on  the  ground 
to  dogs,  Chandalas,  demons,  the  fallen,  and  crow's.”'|" 
Of  sacramental  ceremonies  to  be  used  by  the  three  Varnas, 
up  to  the  time  of  initiation,  the  following  are  mentioned 
on  the  authority  of  “ Upanishads”  not  otherw'ise  speci- 
fied : — Garhhdlaniblia7ia,pnnsavana,  anavalohhana,  which 
are  to  be  performed  in  the  third  month  of  conception ; 
shnanlonny ana,  io  be  performed  in  the  fourth  month  of 
conception  ; jdlakanna,  to  be  performed  at  birth  ; anna- 
prhshana,  to  be  performed  in  the  sixth  month  after  birth  ; 
chaida,  which  ought  to  be  performed  in  the  third  year 
after  birth ; and  the  npanayana,'^  to  be  performed  in 
the  eighth  year  after  birth  in  the  case  of  Brahmans, 
in  the  eleventh  in  the  case  of  Kshatriyas,  and  the 
twelfth  in  the  case  of  Vaishyas,  though  they  may 
be  delayed  for  double  these  periods  in  the  respective 
cases  mentioned,  at  the  expiry  of  which  if  they  be  not 
performed  the  parties  will  be  reckoned  apostates — patita 
savitrika  (fallen  from  the  savitri  or  sacred  gayatri),  and 
incapacitated  for  initiation,  study,  and  social  intercourse 

* Dr.  Muller  (p.  203)  takes  puka  in  this  word  to  signify  small  or 
good,  as  it  sometimes  does. 

t =TiTr5!-  RT  'im  Rifr  A'sh.  Grihya  Sii.  i. 

f For  the  meaning  of  these  words,  see  before,  pp.  GO-1. 


200 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(vijavahareynh).*  In  connexion  -with  the  return  of  a 
youth  to  his  family  after  the  expiiy  of  his  pupilage,  and 
the  burnt-offering  which  is  then  to  be  made,  Agni  is  to  be 
addressed  as  having  “ the  Brahman  for  his  mouth,  the 
Rajanya  arm,  the  Vahhya  for  his  belly,  and 

women  for  his .”t 

Allied  in  origin  to  the  Sutra  now  referred  to  is  the 
Mdnava  Kcdpa  (Ceremonial)  Sutra,  connected  with  the 
Black  Yajur  Veda,  the  first  four  books  of  which  have  been 
lately  lithographed  under  the  auspices  of  Dr.  Goldstiicker. 
In  this  cuiious  and  rare  fragment  we  have  found  but 
little  which  bears  on  caste,  while  this  little  has,  on  other 
authorities,  been  mostly  anticipated  in  the  preceding  pages. 
The  leavings  at  the  Homa,  however,  it  tells  us  are  to  be 
ate  and  drunk  by  the  Brahman,  and  not  by  the  Rajanya 
or  Vaishya.  J The  second  birth  (dvljalva)  is  not  to  be  reck- 
oned as  effected  in  the  case  of  Shudras,  even  when  the 
Sanskaras  of  the  Dvijas  (the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  and 
Ahiishya)  are  practised  by  them.§  Pious  Rajanyas  are 
recommended  to  have  a continuous  Agnihotra  under  the 
care  of  a Ritvija,  for  it  is  the  Brahman  who  has  the  (spe- 
cial) })rivilege  of  sacrifice.  In  connexion  with  this,  the 
commentator  (Kumarila)  holds  that  no  Brahman  engaged 
in  tlie  occupation  of  other  castes  should  be  employed  in 
the  Agnihotra  (or  other  sacrificial  lites),  and  cpiotes  iii 
support  of  this  view  a dictum  (which  also  occurs  in  the 

* Ash.  Gr.  Su.  i.  12-19.  . f Ib.  iii.  8. 

t Manava  Kalpa  Siitra,  fol.  55  (b).  The  transcript  (nearly  amount- 
ing to  a fac-simile)  was  made  by  a Sanskrit  student,  Mi.ss  Amelia 
Rattenbury. 

§ Manava  Kalpa  Sutras,  fol.  76  (6). 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— RECAPITULATION. 


201 


!Manii  Smriti)  to  the  effect  that  “ Brahmans  who  take  care 
of  cattle,  who  trade,  who  practise  mechanical  and  sportive 
arts,  Avho  are  hody-attcndants,  who  are  usurers,  are  to  be 
treated  as  Shudras.”"^ 

The  Sutras  very  unequivocally  bring’  us  to  the  Law 
Books.  The  time  of  their  respective  authors,  or  rather 
collectors,  we  may  afterwards  notice. 

Without  enlarging-  at  present  on  wliat  lias  so  evidently 
conducted  us  to  what  are,  undoubtedly,  the  positive  insti- 
tutions of  Caste,  we  would  now  make  a brief  recapitulation 
of  this  long  section  of  our  work,  with  a view  to  concen- 
trating on  the  precise  subject  of  our  inquiries  the  scattered 
rays  which  it  furnishes. 

The  ruling  tribe  of  India  for  many  ages  past  has  been 
that  of  the  ATyas,  whose  language  (the  oldest  specimens 
of  which  Ave  have  in  the  Vedas,  and  which  was  ultimately 
called  the  Sanskrit),  is  admitted  by  all  philologists  to  be 
cognate  with  the  Greek,  Latin,  Gothic,  Celtic,  Armenian, 
Persian,  and  other  European  and  Asiatic  languages,  com- 
prehended in  the  Indo-Teu tonic  family.  It  bears  the 
closest  analogy  to  the  Zend,  in  which  exist  the  ancient  liter- 
ary works  of  the  followers  of  Zoroaster,  or  the  Iranians, 
or  Parsls.  The  Iranians  derived  their  name  from  their 
supposed  primitive  seat  as  an  organized  community, 
Airyana  Vaejo  (the  Aryan  Vaejo),  on  the  slopes  of  the 
mountainous  country  between  the  Oxus  and  Jaxartes, 
the  general  name  of  the  land  over  which  they  afterwards 
spread  on  their  way  to  the  south  being  Airya,  the 

* Mdnava  Kalpa  Sutras,  fol.  98  (b).  The  dictum  quoted  occurs  in 
the  Manu  Smriti,  viii.  102,  where  it  is  applied  to  the  treatment  of 
witnesses. 


26 


202 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


noun  of  the  adjective  Airyana  now  mentioned.  The 
word  A’rya  in  Sanskrit  designates  the  people  who  had 
come  from  Ainja,  in  the  first  instance,  to  the  banks  of 
the  Indus,  where,  in  consequence  of  social  and  religious 
changes,  they  became  to  a great  extent  separated  from 
their  congeners,  who  had  failed  to  follow  them  to  the 
limits  of  their  wanderings.  On  the  affluents  and  banks  of 
the  Indus,  the  ATyas  composed  the  hjunns  now  found 
in  the  Yedic  collections,  which  are  the  only  sources  of 
our  knowledge  of  their  ancient  state.  The  religious 
differences  which  occurred  between  them  and  the 
Iranians  w^ere  of  considerable  magnitude ; but  never- 
theless they  left  many  traces,  as  we  have  seen,  of  a 
common  faith  and  practice  in  the  ages  of  antiquity. 
The  A'ryas  w^ere  in  many  respects  an  interesting  peo- 
ple, and  considerabl}^  advanced  in  civilization ; but  as 
they  extended  themselves  in  the  land  of  the  Indus 
and  adjoining  territories,  and  came  in  contact  witli 
other  tribes  who  had  preceded  them  in  their  immi- 
grations into  these  regions  of  the  earth,  they  manifested 
to  them  great  pride  of  race  and  violence  of  religions 
antipathy  and  opposition,  as  is  abundantl}'  evident  from 
numerous  passages  wdiicb  we  have  produced  from 
their  ancient  literaiy  remains.  This  j)ride  of  race  and 
violence  of  religious  antipathy  w^ere  the  origin  of  the 
caste  feeling  ever  afterwards  displayed  by  the  A'ryas  to  the 
tribes  whom  they  supposed  to  be  inferior  to  themselves, 
and  more  especially  to  those  who  have  not  been  able  in 
Avhole  or  in  part  to  resist  their  religions  and  civil  domi- 
nion. So  powerful  were  the  effects  of  these  evils  that  the 
A'ryas  viewed  the  strange  peo])le,  whose  inheritances 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— RECAPITULATION. 


203 


they  sought  to  possess,  as  scarcely  human  beings.  Their 
very  names  they  made  the  synonyms  of  fiends  and  devils. 

But  in  connexion  with  Caste  the  community  of  the 
A'ryas  themselves  has  to  be  looked  at  as  well  as  their 
bearing  to  the  tribes  and  races  exterior  to  that  commu- 
nity. Though  religious  and  social  distinctions  were 
known  among  them  from  their  entrance  into  India,  Caste 
in  the  technical  sense  of  the  term  did  certainly  not  then 
exist  amono;  them.  The  Brahmd  or  Brahman  was  at 
first  merely  the  utterer  or  conductor  of  hrahma  or  prayer ; 
the  Rdjanya,  the  prince,  and  the  Kshatra,  or  Kshatriya, 
were  the  possessors  and  dispensers  of  the  raj  or  govern- 
ment, and  hshatra,  power  or  authority  ; and  the  Visha, 
Vita,  or  Vaishya,  was  an  ordinary  householder.  Rank 
and  profession  were  seen  in  these  distinctions  ; but  they 
were  founded  on  fitness,  conventional  understanding,  and 
arrangement ; and  not  on  an  alleged  diverse  generation 
from  the  body  or  subslanceof  deity.  Asfaras  any  religious 
pre-eminence  might  be  associated  with  them,  they  were 
not  even  hereditary.  The  Brahmans  asked  no  privileges 
on  account  of  original  status  or  dignity.  As  distinguished 
from  other  priests  associated  with  themselves  and  be- 
longing to  the  same  class,  they  Avere  only,  on  first  obtain- 
ing distinction,  conductors  of  tli6  greater  ceremonials, 
and  the  appointed  Purohitas,  or  family-priests  of  kings 
and  princes.  The  highest  parties  in  a religious  point  of 
view  in  the  ATyan  community  were  the  Rishis,  the 
poetical  authors  of  their  hymns  ; and  these  might  belong 
either  to  kingly,  priestly,  common,  or  even  Dasyu,  fami- 
lies. Instances  of  their  intermarriage  in  both  kingly  and 
priestly  families  are  brought  to  notice.  Rdjatiyas  and 


2C4 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


VaisJnjas  had  the  privilege  of  conducting  sacrifice  as  well 
as  Brahmans  ; and  no  peculiar  appropriation  of  duty  to 
Vaishyas  w^as  for  long  made  by  religious  legislation.  The 
name  Shudra  does  not  even  occur  in  the  early  parts  of 
the  collection  of  the  Vedas.  It  belonged  to  a people 
first  found  (and  enslaved)  by  the  AVyas  on  tlie  banks  of 
the  Indus;  and  it  was  afterwards  given  to  other  bodies 
of  men  placed  in  a similar  position  with  regard  to  the 
dominant  tribe.  The  doctrine  of  Caste  impurity  and 
defilement  is  not  found  in  the  ancient  Vedic  collections, 
though  the  Brahmanas  make  allusions  to  sacramental 
defilement.  Tlie  peculiar  conception  of  the  god  Brahma, 
in  connexion  with  Avhich  the  theory  of  Caste  is  associated, 
had  been  formed  in  the  first  of  the  Vedic  ages.  The  Hymn 
of  the  Primeval  Male  in  which  it  is  first  found  in  an 
incipient  form  does  not  belong  to  the  earlier  portions  of 
the  Vedas- 

It  is  in  the  derivative  Vedas  that  the  predominance  of 
the  Brahman  in  sacrifice  first  begins  authoritatively  to 
appear.  In  these  derivative  Vedas,  too,  various  social 
distinctions  and  professional  functions  are  first  mentioned, 
tliough  without  any  reference  to  an  established  religious 
foundation.  Custom,  it  may  be  admitted,  however,  was 
at  the  time  of  the  arrangement  of  these  Vedas  preparing 
the  way  for  the  development  of  inter-A'iyan  Caste.  In 
one  of  the  Khillas,  or  supplementary  chapters,  of  the  White 
Yajur  Veda,  that  denominated  the  Purushamedha, — cer- 
tainly not  older  than  the  period  of  the  Bredimanas, — numer- 
ous distinctiveand  curious  classes  in  the  Indian  community 
are  brought  to  notice.  Many  of  these  classes  w^ere  after- 
wards recognized  as  forming  discriminated  castes  ; but  a 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE- RECAPITULATION. 


205 


reference  to  their  specified  associations  and  connexions 
shows  that  the  Caste-system  was  not  matured  when  the 
chapter  of  the  Purushamedha  was  composed- 

A great  deterioration  of  the  Indian  mind,  bearing  on 
tlie  development  of  Caste,  appears  in  connexion  with 
the  A the  latest  of  the  Vedic  collections.  The 
Indian  people  are  obviously  brought  to  notice  in  it  as 
bound  in  the  fetters  of  an  established  hierarchy  and  ram- 
pant superstition.  The  priest,  particularly  the  priest  of 
the  Atharva  class,  is  dominant  in  that  work.  In  it,  too, 
the  Brahman,  or  the  Piiro1iita,\%  not  the  minister,  or  sub- 
stitute, but  the  lord  of  the  prince  ; and  peculiar  privileges 
are  consequently  to  he  enjoyed  by  him. 

In  the  Drahmanas,  or  earliest  Liturgical  and  Rubrical 
Directories  and  Compilations  of  the  Legendry  and  Specula- 
tion of  the  Brahmans, — the  supposed  age  of  which  has  just 
been  mentioned, — the  progress  of  tlie  Brahmans  to  power, 
and  the  gradual  development  of  Caste  in  general,  receives 
soine  valuable  incidental  illustrations.  These  compositions 
always  treat  of  the  Brahmans  as  a pre-eminent  cla^s,  ascrib- 
ing their  “ beauty  and  wisdom”  to  the  Gayatri  verse ; while 
they  speak  of  the  Kshatriya  as  obtaining  “ splendour  and 
bravery”  from  the  Trishtub,and  of  the  Vaishya,  as  getting- 
cattle,  from  the  Jagati.  A certain  Rishi  ol  the  Vedtas,  a 
Dusyaputra  they  tell  us,  enjoyed  his  status  only  by  the  spe- 
cial favour  of  the  gods.  The  Brahman,  they  say,  stands  in 
the  relationship  to  others  of  Brihaspati,  the  Purohitaof  the 
gods.  They  encourage  the  maintenance  of  a hereditary  priest- 
hood, even  by  force.  They  relate  long  legends  to  enhance 
the  virtue  of  the  royal  Vishvamitra,  who  had  been  raised 
to  the  Brahmanhood  by  his  adoption  ol  a Brahman  who 


•206 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


had  narrowly  escaped  been  sacrificed  to  the  gods ; and 
they  degrade  the  memory  of  this  Visln  amitra  by  making 
him  tlie  parent  of  certain  aboriginal  tribes.  Tliey  throw 
distinctive  light  on  the  manner  in  wliich  the  Brahmans 
practically  obtained  a monopoly  in  sacrifice.  The  Brah- 
mans, they  tell  ns,  acted  in  their  own  peculiar  character 
and  functions  Avhen  they  conducted  sacrifices,  while  the 
Kshatriyas  laid  aside  their  peculiar  character  and  functions 
when  they  sacrificed  and  performed  a work  beyond  their 
general  ability.  They  invent  stories  of  excessive  (almost 
incalculable)  rewards  having  been  given  by  princes  to 
olliciating  priests.  They  put  the  Brahman  in  the  class  of 
, the  gods,  and  the  Shudra  in  the  class  of  the  devils.  Nay, 
thev  declare  that  the  Brahman  is  everv  divinitv.  In  the 
lack  of  a goat  for  a sacrifice,  the  Homa,  they  declare,  may 
be  made  at  the  right  hand  of  a Brahman.  He  is  the  Vaish- 
vanara  fire;  if  the  Homa  be  made  on  the  hand, 

it  is  as  if  made  by  Agni  himself.  The  Bvdhman  is  of  the 
form  of  the  day  ; the  Kshatriya,  of  the  form  of  the  night. 
The  SfiHclra  is  oiilv  the  watchman  at  the  great  horse- 
sacrifice.  It  is  perhaps  in  connexion  with  his  watching 
at  sacrifice,  or  in  his  participation  in  the  edibles  or  potables 
of  sacrifice  (also  referred  to  in  the  Brahmanas)  that  the 
Shudra  in  a particidar  instance  is  invited  to  sacrifice.* 
'The  Brahman  they  recommend  to  seek  to  be  the  personal 
representative  at  sacrifice  of  every  Kshatriya.  Defilement 
and  uupurity  they  first  bring  to  notice ; but  this  not  in 
connexion  with  the  persons  of  men  in  ordinary  cu'cum- 
stances,  as  in  the  matured  system  of  caste,  but  in  con- 
nexion with  sacramental  services. 


* See  above,  p.  1G3. 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— RECAPITULATION. 


207 


One  of  the  legends  of  the  Brahmanas,  ag-reeing-  in  some 
respects  witli  the  INIosaic  history  of  tlie  Deluge,  seems  to 
indicate  that  the  A’rvas  had  some  tradition  of  their  havino- 

• O 

j)assed  some  great  mountainous  range  to  the  north  on  their 
coming  to  India.  This  agrees  with  the  inferences  noticed  in 
the  commencement  of  this  section  of  our  work.  A party 
connected  with  Gandharais  represented  in  the  Shatapatlia 
Brahmana  as  speaking  in  his  proper  character,  and  this  as 
an  ATyan.  Pentads  and  Heptads  are  mentioned  in  the 
same  Avork,  hut  these  perhaps  only  in  connexion  with  the 
peoples  of  the  Panjah  and  the  contiguous  country. 

The  old  Aranyalas  and  U^xiiiishach,  Avhich  are  found- 
ed on  Pantheism,  or  on  Dualism,  are  philosopliically  speak- 
ing unfavourahle  to  caste,  inasmuch  as  they  treat  of  all 
the  A aiieties  of  men  and  animals  as  merely  developments 
of  Brahma,  which  they  use  in  the  neAv  sense  of  the 
universal  Self,  Soul,  or  Spirit.  They  even  ascribe  the 
origin  of  the  knowledge  of  Brahma  (in  a passage  Avhich 
we  shall  afterwards  quote)  to  the  Kshatriyas  as  distin- 
puished  from  the  Brahmans.*  Yet  incidental  references 

o 

and  legends  in  these  works  are  sometimes  not  inconsistent 
Avitli  the  claims  of  the  Brahmans  for  pre-eminence. 
Brahma,  they  say,  is  the  birth-place  of  the  Kshatra.  God 
in  the  Brahman  is  in  his  highest  form.  The  doctrine 
of  Brahma  (or  Soul)  may  he  learned  from  a Kshatrya;  hut 
it  goes  against  the  grain  for  a Brahman  to  approach  a 
Kshatriya  to  learn  this  doctrine.  Looking  to  the  non-ini- 
tiated  Avorld,  these  philosophical  works  recognize  the  Brah- 
manical  A'shrams,  or  Orders,  as  in  the  later  LaAv  Books. 
The  founders  of  the  Indian  Schools,  in  general,  accommo- 
* Chhaudogya  Up.  v.  3.  7. 


208 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


dated  themselves  to  the  prevailing  customs  and  supersti- 
tions of  the  country. 

The  Vedic  Sutras,  the  period  of  which  prohahlv  ranges 
from  000  to  200  before  Christ,  and  which  are  intermediate 
between  the  Brahmanas  and  the  Law  Books,  show  a 
marked  growth  in  the  development  of  caste.  This  remark  is 
more  applicable, however, to  the  Shrauta  Sutrcisund  Sdma- 
yachdrika  or  Dharma  Sutras,  than  to  the  Grihya  Sutras 
or  Sutras  of  Domestic  Services ; but  our  references  to  them 
liave  been  so  recent  that  they  need  not  be  here  recapitu- 
lated. 

From  what  we  have  collected,  translated,  and  said  in 
this  long  section,  it  must  be  apparent  that  Caste,  which 
was  not  an  original  institution  of  the  A'ryas,  arose  from 
small  and  almost  imperceptible  beginnings,  though  in  a 
way  which  at  the  same  time  is  not  unintelligible  in  the  view 
of  the  admitted  pravities  of  human  nature.  Our  conclu- 
sions respecting  it  though  founded  on  a personal  and  special 
examination  of  the  Vedic  works  to  which  we  have  refer- 
red (with  the  helps  with  which  they  are  now  associated), 
are  wonderfull}’  in  accordance  ’with  those  of  the  learned 
orientalists  who  have  of  late  years  given  their  attention 
to  it  in  Europe,  such  as  Lassen,  Both,  Weber,  jMuir, 
and  Max  Muller.  All  these  learned  gentlemen  have,  at 
o-reater  or  less  length,  noticed  the  rise  aud  advancement 
of  the  Brahmauical  power  much  in  the  way  we  have 
done  in  the  preceding  pages.  Dr.  Muller,  for  example, 
thus  writes  in  his  usual  animated  style,  but  with  an  acute 
recognition  of  facts  and  principles  : — “ The  three  occu- 
pations of  the  A'ryas  in  India  were  fighting,  cultivating 
the  soil,  and  worshipping  the  gods.  Those  who  fought 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— RECAPITULATION. 


209 


the  battles  of  the  people  would  naturally  acquire  influ- 
ence and  rank,  and  their  leaders  appear  in  the  Veda  as 
Rajas  or  Kings.  Those  who  did  not  share  in  the  fighting 
would  occupy  a more  humble  position  ; they  were  called 
Vish,  Vaishyas,  or  householders,  and  would  no  doubt 
have  to  contribute  towards  the  maintenance  of  the  armies.” 
“ But  a third  occupation,  that  of  worshipping  the  gods, 
was  evidently  considered  by  the  whole  nation  to  be  as 
important  and  as  truly  essential  to  the  well-being  of  the 
country  as  fighting  against  enemies  or  cultivating  the 
soil.  However  imperfect  and  absurd  their  notions  of  the 
Deity  may  seem  to  us,  we  must  admit  that  no  nation  vtas 
ever  so  anxious  to  perform  the  service  of  their  gods  as  the 
early  Hindus.  It  is  the  gods  who  conquer  the  enemy,  it  is 
the  gods  who  vouchsafe  a rich  harvest.  Health  and  wealth, 
children,  friends,  flocks,  and  gold,  all  are  the  gifts 
of  the  gods.  And  these  are  not  unmeaning  phrases  with 
those  early  poets.”  “ Among  a nation  of.  this  peculiar 
stamp  the  priests  were  certain  to  acquire  great  influence 
at  a very  early  period,  and,  like  all  priests,  they  were  as 
certain  to  use  it  for  their  own  advantage,  and  to  the  ruin 
of  all  true  religious  feeling.  It  is  the  lifespring  of  all 
religion  that  man  feels  the  immediate  presence  of  God, 
and  draws  as  near  to  God  as  a child  to  his  father.  But 
the  priests  maintained  that  no  one  should  approach  the 
gods  without  their  intercession,  and  that  no  sacrifices 
should  be  offered  without  their  advice.  Most  of  the 
Indo-European  nations  have  resisted  these  claims,  but  in 
India  the  priests  were  successful,  and  in  the  Veda, 
alread}'^,  though  only  in  some  of  the  latest  hymns,  the 
position  of  the  priest  or  the  Purohita,  is  firmly  esta- 

27 


210 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


blislied.”  “These  ver}^  113'mns  were  the  chief  strengtli 
on  which  the  priests  relied,  and  they  were  handed  down 
from  father  to  son  as  the  most  valuable  heirloom.  A 
hymn  by  which  the  gods  had  been  invoked  at  the 
beginning  of  a battle,  and  which  had  secured  to  the  king 
a victory  over  his  enemies,  was  considered  an  unfailing 
spell,  and  it  became  the  sacred  war-song  of  a whole  trihe. 
But  the  priests  only  were  allowed  to  chant  these  songs, 
they  onl}^  were  able  to  teach  them,  and  the^^  impressed 
the  people  with  a belief  that  the  slightest  mistake  in  the 
words,  or  the  pronunciation  of  the  words,  would  rouse 
the  anger  of  the  gods.  Thus  they  became  the  masters 
of  all  religious  ceremonies,  the  teachers  of  the  people,  the 
ministers  of  kings.  Their  favour  was  courted,  their 
anger  dreaded,  b}"  a pious  but  credulous  race.  The 
priests  never  aspired  [nominally]  to  Royal  power.  They 
left  the  insignia  of  royalty  to  the  military  caste.  But 
woe  to  the  warrior  who  would  not  submit  to  their  spiri- 
tual guidance,  or  who  would  dare  to  perform  his  sacrifice 
without  waiting  for  his  Samuel  ! There  were  fierce  and 
sanguinary  struggles  between  tlie  priests  and  the  nobility 
before  the  King  consented  to  how  before  the  Brahman. 
In  the  ^’^eda  we  still  find  Kings  composing  their  own 
hymns  to  the  gods,  royal  bards,  Rajar.«his,  who  united  in 
their  person  the  powers  both  of  king  and  priest.  The 
family  of  Vishvamitra  has  contributed  its  own  collection 
of  hymns  to  the  Rig- Veda,  but  Vishvamitra  himself  was 
of  royal  descent,  and  if  in  later  times  he  is  represented 
as  admitted  to  the  Brahmanic  family  of  the  Bhrigus — 
a family  famous  for  its  sanctity  as  well  as  its  valour — this 
is  but  an  excuse  invented  bv  the  Brahmans,  in  order  to 


ORIGIN  OF  CASTE— RECAPITULATION. 


211 


explain  what  would  otherwise  have  upset  their  old  system . 
King-  Janaka  of  Yideha  is  represented  in  some  of  the 
Brahmanas  as  more  learned  than  any  of  the  Brahmans 
at  his  Court.  Yet,  when  instructed  by  Yajiiavalkaya  as 
to  the  real  nature  of  the  soul  and  its  identity  with 
Brahma,  or  the  divine  spirit,  he  exclaims,  ‘ I will  give 
thee,  0 A'enerable,  the  kingdom  of  the  Videhas,  and  my 
own  self,  to  become  thy  slave.’  As  the  influence  of  the 
Brahmans  extended  they  became  more  and  more  jealous 
of  their  privileges,  and,  while  fixing  their  own  privileges, 
they  endeavoured  at  the  same  time  to  circumscribe  the 
duties  of  the  warriors  and  the  householders.  Those  of  the 
ATyas  who  would  not  submit  to  the  laws  of  the  three 
estates  were  treated  as  outcasts,  and  they  are  chiefly 
known  by  the  name  of  Vratyas  or  tribes.  They  spoke 
the  same  language  as  the  three  Aryan  castes,  but  they 
did  not  submit  to  Brahmanic  discipline,  and  they  had  to 
perform  certam  penances  if  they  wished  to  be  readmitted 
into  the  ATyan  society.  The  aboriginal  inhabitants  again, 
who  conformed  to  the  Brahmanic  law,  received  certain 
privileges,  and  were  constituted  as  a fourth  caste,  under 
the  name  of  Shudras,  whereas  all  the  rest  who  kept  aloof 
were  called  Dasyus,  whatever  their  language  might  be.”«= 
^Ye  clearly  see  the  path  over  which  the  Brahmans  moved, 
though  we  cannot  sympathize  with  either  their  aspirations 
or  their  success.  Caste  was  a growth,  pride  being  its 
seminal  principle — the  pride  of  race,  and  the  pride  of 
religious  presumption  and  pre-eminence,  issuing  in 
arrogant  monopoly. 


* Times,  10th  April,  1858. 


212 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


YI. — Caste  in  the  Indian  Epics. 

In  looking  for  information  as  to  the  origin  and  early 
development  of  Caste,  "we  have  hitherto  confined  our 
attention  to  the  Yedic  works,  of  different  characters  and 
ages,  which,  as  far  as  that  iustitiition*is  concerned,  have 
passed  in  review  before  us  in  the  preceding  section  of  our 
volume.  We  have  next  to  seek  for  illustrations  of  its 
action  in  Indian  society  in  the  literature  which  may  be 
considered,  at  least,  in  its  original  form,  intermediate 
between  these  Yedic  works  and  the  Hindu  Law-Books, 
in  which  Caste  is  essentially  bound  up  with  Hinduism, 
and  decreed,  as  far  as  priestly  legislation  can  accomplish 
the  matter,  to  last  till  the  world,  by  its  impairment  and 
neglect,  is  ripe  for  destruction.*  We  now  turn  our 
attention  to  the  Epics,  which,  when  critically  viewed, 
are  really  the  best  sources  of  information  respecting  the 
working  of  Caste  influences  and  their  extension  and 
maintenance  throughout  India. 

By  the  Indian  Epics,  we  mean  the  Ramaijana  and  the 
Mahahharata.  They  are  both  designated  Kavya,  poetry 
properly  so-called,  and  itihasa  or  dkJnjdna,  narrative  or 
tale.  They  were  first  denominated  Epics  by  Sir  William 
Jones,  whose  conjectures,  even  respecting  what  was  but 
imperfecth’^  known  in  his  day,  were  often  of  a happy 
character.  “ The  appropriateness  of  the  epithet,”  says 
Professor  H.  H.  Wilson,  “ has  been  denied  by  some  of  those 
ultra-admirers  of  Yirgil  and  Homer,  who  will  allow  the 
dignity  of  the  Epos  to  be  claimed  by  none  but  the  objects 
of  their  idolatry  : and,  in  the  restricted  sense  in  which  a 
poem  is  entitled  Epic,  agreeable  to  the  definition  of 
* See  before,  note,  p.  72. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  RAMAYANA. 


213 


Aristotle,  it  may  indeed  be  matter  of  question,  if  the 
term  be  strictly  applicable  to  the  Hindu  Poems.  Al- 
though, however,  it  might  not  be  impossible  to  vindicate 
their  pretensions  to  such  a title,  yet  it  is  not  worth  while 
to  defend  them.  It  matters  little  what  they  are  called  ; 
and  they  wall  not  lose  their  value,  as  interesting  narra- 
tives of  important  events,  as  storehouses  of  historical 
traditions  and  m3^thological  legends,  as  records  of  the 
ancient  social  and  political  condition  of  India,  and  as 
juctnres  of  natural  manners,  if,  instead  of  epic,  they  be 
denominated  heroic  poems.”*  As  they  are  now  found, 
they  are  both,  especially  theMahabharata,  deficient  in  unity, 
and  have  an  immense  number  of  anachronisms,  episodes, 
digressions,  discussions,  interpolations,  many  of  which  are 
posterior  to  their  original  composition.  We  notice  them 
in  what  we  conceive  to  be  the  order  of  that  composition. 

1.  The  Ramdijana,  or  Progress-of-Iiama,  derives  its 
name  from  Rama,  King  of  A\  odhya,  (“Oude”),  the  thirty- 
fourth  in  descent  according  to  one  of  its  recensions  from 
the  mythical  personage  Vaivasvata,  or  Maim,  the  son  of 
the  sun.  Its  great  object  is  to  celebrate,  after  a mj^thical 
or  allegorical  form,  the  advancement  of  the  ATyan  power 
and  rites  among  the  uncivilized  tribes  of  the  south  of 
India,  the  opposition  to  which  is  typified  by  a Rakshasa 
or  giant  named  Ravana,  |'  who  is  said  to  have  carried  ofl' 
Sita,  the  wife  of  Rama,  the  daughter  of  Swadhaya,  the 
representative  of  the  line  of  Janaka  of  Videha,  or  Maithila. 

* Introduction  to  Johnson’s  Selections  from  the  Mahiibharata. 

•j"  “ "Wliat  this  is  to  India,”  says  Dr.  Max  Muller,  “ the  war  of 

Persia  was  to  Greece  ; the  victory  of  patriotic  valour  over  brute  force. 
The  muses  of  Herodotus  are  the  Ramiiyana  of  Hellas.”  Hist.  A.  S. 
Lit.  p.  17.  Yet,  how  vastly  different  their  character  ! 


211 


WPIAT  CASTE  IS. 


This  occurred  when  Rama,  banished  by  his  father 
Dasliaratha,  was  living  as  an  ascetic  in  the  forests,  along 
with  one  of  his  brothers  Lakshmana,  The  action  of  the 
poem  is  primarily  directed  to  the  recovery  and  reinstate- 
ment of  Sita  ; and  on  the  whole  it  is  of  a uniform  casting. 
Rama,  with  the  assistance  of  Sugriva,  Hanuman,  and 
other  monkey  chiefs,  (representatives  of  forest  tribes,)  in- 
vaded Lanka,  the  country  of  the  ravisher,  took  his  capital, 
killed  Ravana  in  fight,  established  the  brother  of  the 
offender  (Yiblnshana,  the  formidable)  on  the  throne,  and 
returned  to  Ayodhya,  where  he  reigned  in  succession  to 
his  father.  The  sphere  of  the  poem,  viewed  in  its  essen- 
tial range,  as  observed  by  Professor  Lassen,  is  geogra- 
phically limited  to  the  country  north  of  the  Vindhya 
[mountains]  ; in  the  south  there  is  nothing  but  a wilder- 
ness of  forests,  with  monkevs  for  inhabitants.”  Little 
notice  is  taken  in  it  of  any  southern  peoples,  though 
there  are  allusions  to  them  in  Sugriva’s  charge  to  the  mon- 
keys requiring  them  to  search  various  localities  for  Sita,  as 
will  afterwards  appear  ; and  the  extension  of  its  story  to 
Lanka,  or  Ceylon,  as  thought  by  Lassen,  is  probably  poste- 
rior to  its  original  composition.  It  is  attributed  to  V almiki, 
a Brahman,  represented  as  the  contemporary  of  Rama ; but 
certainly  it  was  not  composed  in  the  days  of  that  king, 
Avhile  large  portions  of  it  so  speak  of  Valmiki  as  to  show 
that  he  was  not  their  author.  The  portions  of  it  which 
allude  to  Rama  as  an  incarnation  of  a portion,  or  a portion- 
of-a-portion  {anshdnshu)  of  the  god  Vishnu  do  not  seem 
to  belong  to  its  original  plan.*  It  was  originally  handed 

* “ lu  the  Epic  poems,”  says  Lassen,  “ Riima  and  Krishna  certainly 
appear  as  incarnations  of  Vishnu,  but  at  the  same  time  as  human 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  RAMAYANA. 


215 


down  orally ; and  is  said  to  have  been  sung  at  a great 
Ashvamedha,  or  royal  horse-sacrifice  by  Kusha  and  Lava, 
the  reputed  [but  disowned]  sons  of  its  hero,  “ their  joint 
name  {Kushilava”),  as  remarked  by  Lassen,  “ signifying  a 
bard  and  at  a later  time  an  actor,  as  though  the  hero  had 
through  his  seed  given  birth  to  a race  of  bards,”  A good 
portion  of  it,  distinguished  for  the  ease  and  naturalness  of 
its  language,  may  have  been  composed  when  the  Sanskrit 
was  a spoken  language,  which  it  ceased  to  be  soon  after 


heroes  ; and  these  two  representations  are  so  little  commingled  that 
both  of  the  two  ordinarily  display  themselves  only  like  other  more 
highly-gifted  men,  act  according  to  human  motives,  and  do  not  by  any 
means  turn  their  divine  superiority  to  account.  It  is  only  in  single 
sections  especially  added  to  inculcate  their  divinity  that  they  come 
forward  as  Vishnu.  No  one  can  read  the  two  poems  with  attention 
w'ithont  being  reminded  of  the  later  addition  of  these  deifying  sections, 
of  the  awkward  manner  in  which  they  are  often  introduced,  of  the 
looseness  of  their  connexion,  and  of  their  superfluousness  with  refer- 
ence to  the  progress  of  the  narrative.  Even  as  the  Mahdbharata  now 
stands  Krishna  is  not  the  principal  hero  of  the  poem  ; this  part  is  ap- 
propriated to  the  Pandavas.  He  certainly  belonged  to  the  original 
Piindava  legend,  but  only  as  the  hero  of  his  tribe,  and  not  as  occupying 
a higher  position  than  the  Pandavas.  His  elevation  above  his  fellow- 
heroes  is  due  to  later  endeavours,  but  does  not  pervade  the  whole  work, 
and  it  is  only  in  a very  few  places  that  the  later  editors  have  ventured 
to  call  the  Bharata  the  holy  book  of  Krishna.”  For  Lassen  on  the 
Indian  Epics,  see  his  Indische  Altherthumskunde,  i.  479-499.  Gorresio, 
in  his  preface  to  the  fifth  volume  of  his  text  of  the  Ramayana,  after 
quoting  the  passages  in  which  Rama  is  spoken  of  in  that  work  as  an 
Avatiira  of  Vishnu,  hesitates  to  pronounce  on  the  question  of  their 
original  connection,  or  not,  with  the  poem.  At  p.  xlviii,  he  says, 
“ Resti  dunque  sospesa  la  sentenza  ; suh  judice  h$.”  The  passages 
quoted  are  but  few  in  number,  and  the  idea  which  they  express  is 
certainly  not  wrought  into  the  body  of  the  poem. 


216 


■\VIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


tlie  time  of  Buddha.  Its  legends  (as  well  as  those  of  the 
IMahablidrata  which  is  posterior  to  it)  Professor  Lassen 
justly  holds,  were  remolded  in  a way  which  tended  to 
generalize  them  and  obliterate  the  features  of  the  more 
ancient  times,  and  while  the  whole  material  was  subjected 
to  a priestly,  religious  influence.”  “ The  views  of  a later 
period,”  the  same  distinguished  author  adds,  “ pene- 
trated the  ancient  legend  ; the  doctrines  of  the  three  great 
gods  [Brahma,  Vishnu,  and  Shiva]  of  the  four  castes  and 
their  position,  and  whatever  other  ideas  were  not  a part  of 
the  Indian  system,  took  possession  also  of  the  traditions  of 
the  earliest  era.  The  priestly  element  of  the  history  of 
the  gods  restricted  the  martial  character  of  the  heroic 
legend,  and  confined  it  to  narrower  limits.  The  battles  in 
the  Rainayana  seek  rather  to  excite  our  astonishment  by 
supernatural  personages  and  weapons,  than  to  awaken  our 
wonder  by  great  natural  human  prowess.”  Pahlavas  (the 
Pactyes  of  the  Greeks),  Shakas,  Yavanas,  (Ibiies,  or 
Greeks)  are  mentioned  in  it* ; and  in  all  probability,  the 
Yavanas  here  referred  to  became  known  to  the  Indians  pos- 
terior to  the  days  of  Alexander  the  Great.  It  is  diflicult, 
almost  impossible  in  many  instances,  to  distinguish  between 
the  more  ancient  and  more  modern  portions  of  the  Avork, 
between  those  Avhich  are  prior  and  those  which  are  posterior 
to  the  triumph  of  Buddhism.  It  exists,  it  may  be  proper  here 
to  add,  in  at  least  tAvo  recensions,  the  Northern  recension  and 
Gaud,  or  Bengal,  recension,  AA’hich,  in  some  places,  differ 
considerably  in  their  Avording,  though  little  in  their  meaning. 
Sometimes  AAe  have  had  the  one,  and  sometimes  the  other, 
in  oin  hands,  Avhen  making  our  extracts.  In  the  portions 

* Ram.  i.  55. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  RAMA  YANA. 


217 


of  the  Ramayanji  meritoriously  published  and  translated  by 
l^rs.  Marshman  and  Carey,  there  is  a combination,  or 
mixture,  of  the  recensions.  Sclilegel  attempted,  in  the 
portions  which  he  edited  and  translated,  to  give  the 
northern  text  in  its  purity.  It  is  the  Gaud  recension 
which  of  late  years  has  been  very  neatly  and  accurately 
edited,  with  an  excellent  Italian  translation,  by  the  Cave- 
liere  Gaspare  Gorresio.  In  the  Sanskrit  text  of  the  work, 
it  is  said  to  consist  of  24,000  verses.*  One  of  my  friends 
(the  Rev.  J.  W.  Gardner),  who  has  kindly  counted  them 
for  me,  finds  them  to  amount  to  20,213. 

It  has  evidently  been  an  object  with  the  authors  of  tlie 
Ramayana,  to  represent  the  Caste  system, — especially  as 
connected  with  the  Brahmans,  Ksliatriyas,  Yaishyas,  and 
Shudras, — as  essentially  formed  in  the  days  of  Rama  the 
King  of  Ayodhya,  whose  doings  they  celebrate  in  a myth- 
ical form.  These  castes  are  often  mentioned  together, 
throughout  that  poem,  as  forming  the  recognized  divisions 
of  Hindu  society.  In  its  introduction  it  is  prophesied  of 
Rama,  as  the  descendant  of  Raghu,  one  of  his  predecessors 
on  the  throne,  that  he  should  establish  the  four  Varrms  in 
the  world  according  to  their  respective  duties.f  Among 
the  inhabitants  of  his  capital  were  the  excellent  twice-born 
men  maintaining  the  sacrificial  fire,  deeply  read  in  the  V eda 
and  its  six  Angas,J  distributors  of  thousands  (of  gifts),  full 

* Ram.  i.  at  the  end.  f Ramayana  i.  199. 

f The  six  Yediingas,  or  “ members-of-the-Veda.”  “ This  name,” 
Dr.  Muller  (Hist.  A.  S.  Lit.  p.  109)  correctly  say.s,  “ does  not  imply  the 
existence  of  six  distinct  books  or  treatises  intimately  connected  with 
their  [the  Brahmans’]  sacred  wiltings,  but  merely  the  admission  of  six 

28 


218 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  truth,  discipline,  and  mercy,  like  the  ancient  great 
Rishis,  controllers  of  themselves*  Of  its  people  in  general 
it  is  said  that  no  one  of  them  was  anyayavritlimdn,  addicted 
to  a calling  not  his  own.f  “ The  Kshatra,  Brahma,  and 
Vita  were  loyal  to  their  sovereign  j while  there  were  no 
Sankaras  (mixed  classes)  either  by  bu’th  or  by  conduct.”;}: 
“ All  the  Varnas  kept  by  their  proper  work.”§  To  the 
horse-sacrifice  of  Dasharatha,  the  father  of  Rama,  per- 
formed for  the  sake  of  offspring,  learned  and  devout 
Brahmans  were  ordered  to  be  summoned  by  Sumantra,  his 
minister,  who  is  said  to  have  introduced  Suyajna,  Vama- 
deva,  Javali,  Kashyapa,  the  Piu-ohita  Vasishtha,  and  others, 
the  poet  by  a gross  anachronism  going  back  to  the  times  of 
the  Vedas  |j  These  Brahmans  began  to  conduct  the  sacri- 
fice. Multitudes  of  then’  caste  were  present,  who  were 
furnished  with  abandance  of  food  and  drink.  Pious  persons 
of  the  four  castes  were  ordered  by  Vasi.slitha  to  be  invited, 
andako  Janaka,king  of  Mithila,the  Kingof  Kashi,  the  king- 

subjects,  tbe  study  of  which  was  necessary  either  for  the  reading,  the 
understanding,  or  the  proper  sacrificial  employment  of  the  Veda.” 
Dr.  M.  thinks  they  were  originally  “ integral  portions  of  the  Brahmanas, 
in  the  same  manner  as  the  [primitive]  Puranas  and  Itihasas,”  and  not 
the  “ small  and  barren  tracts  now  known  by  this  name.”  (p.  110.). 
They  are  mentioned  in  the  little  Charanavyuha  to  which  we  mu.st  after- 
wards refer,  as  shikshd  (pronunciation),  kalpa  (ceremonial),  vyakdrmm 
(grammar),  (explanation,  of  words),  c/m/ida  (metre),  &ndjyotislia 

(astronomy  and  astrology).  All  the  Brahmans  consider  them  to  have 
still  these  di-visions. 

Ram.  i.  5.  20.  p Ram.  i.  6.  6. 

: Ram.  i.  16.  (N.  R.) 

II  Ram.  i.  11.  6-9.  See  also  ii.  8. 


f Riim  i.  6.  21. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  KA'MA'YANA. 


219 


of  Kekayi,  Lomapada  the  king'  of  Anga,  the  kings  to  the 
east  of  Sindhusanvira  and  Snrashtra,  alid  the  kings  of  the 
south,  who  must  consequently  be  supposed  to  have  been 
followers  of  the  A'ryan  faith.*  Thousands  of  Brahmans 
were  feasted  separately.  The  king,  bent  on  increasing  his 
family,  presented  on  that  occasion  the  east  country  to  the 
Hotri,  the  west  to  the  Adhvaryn,  the  south  to  the  Brdh- 
man,  and  the  north  to  the  Udgatri ; hut  these  classes  of 
priests  devoted  to  the  study  of  the  Veda,  refused  this 
otlering,  accepting,  however,  “ a million  of  cows,  a hundred 
millions  of  (pieces  of)  gold,  and  four  times  as  many  pieces 
of  silver.”  In  addition  to  this  he  gave  ten  millions  (of  the 
gold)  of  Jamhunada  to  the  Brahmans  in  general.'!'  A 
somewhat  similar  liberality  was  shown  by  him  on  the 
occasion  of  the  marriage  of  his  four  sons,  when  he  gave 
the  Brahmans  four  hundred  thousand  cows.  J Of  even  this 

liberality,  the  rich  Brahmans  are  represented  as  scarcely 
standing  in  need.  Vasishtha  is  made  to  decline  for  his 
cow  Shabala  (which  yielded  according  to  desire)  an  offer 
from  Vishvamitra  of  fourteen  thousand  elephants,  with 

^ Some  have  supposed  that  the  Surdshtra  and  Sauvira  here  men- 
tioned were  contiguous  countries  ; but  this  was  not  the  case.  Si'ta  in 
resisting  the  addresses  of  Eavana  (Ham.  iii.  53.56)  alludes  to  their 
distance  from  one  another  as  an  illustration  of  the  distance  between  him 
and  Kama,  her  husband,  in  her  estimation.  Surdshtra  was  in  the  penin- 
sula of  Kdthidwdd,  and  Sauvira  (or  Sindhu-Sauvira)  a district  on  the 
Indus,  far  to  the  east.  Tire  Brahmans  of  Sehwan  (the  Sindomana  of 
Alexander’s  historians)  identify  their  town  with  Sindhu-Sauvira,  but 
erroneously,  as  it  is  comparatively  near  Surdshtra. 

y Earn.  i.  12.  12,  et.  seq.  Compare  both  recensions. 

t Edm.  i.  74.  28-9. 


220 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


golden  appurtenances ; eight  hundred  golden  chariots,  with 
four  white  horses  for  each  ; one  thousand  and  ten  horses 
of  good  hirth  by  country  and  family,  and  ten  millions  of 
cows  of  various  colours  and  hues.*  This  cow,  Shahala,  the 
creation  of  the  ingenuity  of  the  Brahmans,  seems  to  have 
had  gi’eat  regard  for  the  glory  of  Brahmans,  for  she  says  to 
her  owner : “ A Kshatriya’s  power,  it  is  said,  is  not  so 
powerful  as  that  of  a Brahman,  which  being  the  power 
of  the  Brahma  is  divine  and  greater  than  that  of  the 
Kshatra.”f  An  extraordinary  conflict  is  represented  as  haA  - 
ino-  been  maintained  between  ^'ishvamitra  and  Vashishtha, 
which  ended  in  the  former  performing  most  extraordinary 
austerities  to  obtain  the  Brahmanhood  which  the  earlier 
traditions  of  the  Hindus  represent  him  as  having  acquired.^ 
Bhagiratha,  the  son  of  Ddipa,  is  exhibited  as  performing 
austerities  for  the  descent  of  the  Ganges,  for  a thousand 
years,  suiTounded  in  the  hot  season  with  five  fires  and  in 
the  cold  lying  in  water,  according  to  the  ordinances  (found 
in  Manu).§  Allusions  ai'e  made  in  it  to  the  destruction  in 
a former  ao-e  of  the  Kshatrivas  hv  Paraslmrama,  the  son  of 
Jamadagni,  because  of  their  opposition  to  the  Brahmans.  (( 
Dasliaratha,  on  his  sending  his  son  Bharata  to  his  grand- 
father, thus  counsels  him  : — “ Be  thou  modest  and  pious 
and  humble,  O my  son  ; by  every  endeavour  seek  to  please 
the  Brahmans  devoted  to  the  work  of  the  Shruti  and  exert- 
ing themselves  in  service.  Ask  thou  counsel  of  them  ; let 

* Riirn.  i.  54.  19-22.  f Ib.  i.  55.  14. 

I Ramayana  i.  54-67.  See  on  this  Muir’s  Texts,  i.  98-110, 

§ Riim.  i.  44.  9-12.  See  before,  p.  34. 

II  Ram.  i.  76.  21  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS-TTIE  KA'JIA'YANA. 


221 


llieir  counsel  be  received  by  ibee  as  the  elixir  of  immortal- 
ity. They  are  the  root  of  prosperity  and  glory.  'J'lie 
Brahmans,  the  ntterers  of  the  brahma,  are  necessary  in 
every  ceremonial  institute.  The  gods,  O son,  O most  wise, 
have,  for  maintaining  the  existence  of  men,  assumed  the 
abode  of  humanity  becoming  gods  on  earth,  the  twice- 
born.  To  them  belong  the  Vedas,  the  Dharmashdstra, 
the  disciplinary  Institutes,  the  Nlti-shastra,  and  the 
science  of  Archery.”*  The  Brahmans  are  set  forth  as 
deeply  lamenting  for  Rdma  when  ordered  by  his  father  to 
take  up  his  abode  in  the  wilderness  ; and  when  they  fol- 
loAved  him  on  foot,  it  is  said,  he  would  not  ride.f  Dasha- 
ratha,  his  father,  who  also  accompanied  him  to  Chitrakuta, 
is  made  to  express  to  one  of  his  wives  his  deep  penitence  for 
having  killed  a boy  who  appeared  to  be  of  the  Brah- 
manical  race,  and  he  was  comforted  by  the  youth  saying, 
“ I am  not  of  the  twice-born  ; throAV  aside  the  fear  of 
(having  committed)  Brahmacide.  I was  produced  by  a 
Brdhman  on  a female  Shudra  living  in  the  wilderness. ”J 
The  property,  as  well  as  the  life  of  a Brahman  is  repre- 
sented as  sacred,  by  Bharata,  when  he  complains  of  Rama 
having  been  sent  by  his  father  into  the  wilderness.'^ 
Rama’s  success  in  war  is  attributed  more  to  the  hows, 
arrows,  scimitars,  and  other  weapons  which  he  received 
from  the  Rishis  and  other  Brahmans  than  to  any  portion 
of  the  divinity  which  he  is  represented  as  possessing. |j 


Earn.  i.  79,  16-20. 
t Earn.  ii.  66.  43. 

II  Earn.  i.  30,  et  in  al.  loc< 


■]■  Earn.  ii.  43. 

§ Riiin.  ii.  74.  53. 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


0-2  2 

The  lionour  of  the  Brahmans  is  set  fortli  as  one  of  the 
grand  duties  of  inoralit}^  which  are  thus  spoken  of: — 

'WrsrJT  ^ 

JTTr^^JTr  m’q’^rrar^rr  ^ | 
rg:3rfffT^ifTf?TT3pf  ^ 

TP^rr^irrirwTT^q’ 

The  sages  say  that  truth,  and  religion,  and  valor, 
and  tenderness  for  living  beings,  and  affectionate  speech, 
and  the  service  or  worship  of  the  twice-born,  the  gods, 
and  guests,  form  the  path  which  leads  to  heaven.*”  Here 
the  Brahmans  take  precedence  of  the  gods. 

Little  is  found  in  the  Ramayana  about  the  distinctive 
position  of  the  Kshatriyas.  It  must  be  remembered, 
however,  that  the  grand  object  of  the  poem  is  the  lauda- 
tion of  the  princes  of  Ayodhya  in  the  use  of  their 
kshatra,  or  power.  The  Kshatri3'as,  it  shows  us,  formed 
the  leaders  of  armies.  Bali,  or  Valia  monke}^  prince,  when 
expostnlating  with  Rama  for  wounding  him  with  an  arrow 
not  in  fair  fight,  says  to  him,  “ Composedness,  liberality, 
self-confidence,  forgiveness,  truthfulness,  boldness,  steadi- 
ness, and  the  disposition  to  punish  transgressors  are 
the  qualities  of  the  Kshatra.”  The  same  quadrumanous 

'•  Eiim.  ii.  118,  32.  The  moral  teachings  of  this  chapter  are  much 
superior  to  those  of  the  professed  law-books.  The  following  lines 
(verses  13-14)  are  excellent: — 

q-ff:  nfTTU  II 

Tratliis  the  founda'.ion  of  pietj'  in  the  world;  the  root  of  religion  is  truth; 

Truth  is  the  supreme  principle  in  the  world ; on  truth  prosperity  rests. 

Tnith  is  the  most  excellent  of  all  things;  wherefore  let  truth  be  glorious. 


CASTE  IX  THE  EPICS— THE  RA'MA'YAXA. 


2-23 


teacher  gives  him  the  following  instruction  agreeable 
to  the  Law  Books: — “Thedestroyerofkings,  ofBrahmans, 
and  of  cows,  the  thief,  the  life-taker,  the  atheist,  and  the 
younger  brother  who  marries  before  the  elder,  go  to  hell. 
My  skin  is  not  fit  to  be  worn  by  saints.  What  will  you  do 
with  my  bones  ! My  flesh  is  not  to  be  ate  by^a  Brahma- 
chari  like  thyself.  O descendant  of  Raghu,  there  are  five 
classes  (of  animals)  with  five  nails  which  are  not  to  be 
ate  by  Brahmans  and  Kshatriyas.  The  hare,  porcupine, 
guana,  crocodile,  and  tortoise  are  these  five.  These  ^ther 
five  have  been  mentioned  (by  law)  to  me  as  inedible — the 
jackal,  crocodile,  monkey,  kinnara,  and  man.*  Munis 
do  not  touch  either  my  skin  or  bones.  My  flesh  is  not 
to  be  ate  by  saints  ; I am  of  the  five-nailed. ”j'  Lakshmana, 
the  brother  of  'Rama,  when  instructing  Sugriva,  the 
brother  and  successor  of  Bali,  seems  to  have  made  a return 
for  this  information  ; for  he  repeats  this  Shloka  on  the 
authority  of  Brahma  : — “ For  the  slayer  of  a Brahman, 
for  the  drinker  of  intoxicants,  for  the  thief,  and  for  the 
breaker  of  vows  an  atonement  (iiishKritiX)  is  prescribed; 
but  for  ingratitude  there  is  no  atonement.”^ 

Though  the  authors  of  the  Ramayana  speak  of  the 
Yaishyas  and  Shi'alras  as  having  their  respective  functions 

* The  word  for  man  here  is  nara,  coupled  with  vdnara  (monkey), 
— the  man-of-the  woods, — according  to  the  native  etymologists, 
t Ram.  iv.  16.  22,  30-34. 

J Literally  “ a-doing-away.”  The  word  is  used  in  MaraRii  as  well  as 
in  Sanskrit,  and  is  often  nearer  the  idea.of“  atonement”  than  prdijas- 
cliitta,  the  meaning  of  which  frequently  is  “ penance,”  or  “ penitence.” 

Ram.  iv.  34. 18. 


221 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(sraliarma),  they  did  not,  it  appears  to  me,  seek  to 
recognize  any  sncli  subordination  of  castes  and  ranks 
founded  on  diversities  of  occupation  as  has  been  exhibited 
in  later  times.  In  the  ninetieth  chapter  of  the  Ayodhya- 
Kanda,  the  inhabitants  of  the  city  of  Ayodhya  are 
represented  .as  going  out  vith  Bharata  in  the  following- 
order, — to  seek  Rama  that  he  might  occupy  the  throne 
after  his  father  Dasharatha’s  death.  I give  their  desig- 
nations  in  tire  singular,  for  the  sake  of  convenience, 
though  the  plural  is  used  by  the  poet. 


1 Manikdra, 

Jeweller. 

25  Bandi,\ 

. Panegyrist. 

2 Kumhhakdra,  ... 

Potter. 

26  Varata, 

. Varata.  I 

U Yantrakarmakrit 

, Mechanician. 

27  Vaittrakdra,  .. 

. Worker-in-wilhes. 

4 Astropajivi, 

Man-of-arms. 

28  Gdndhika, 

. Compounder-of- 

b ilayurika, 

Peacock-keeper. 

perfumes. 

6 Taittirika, 

Partridge-keeper. 

29  Pdniha, 

. Dealer-in-drinks. 

7 Chhedaka, 

Borer  (as  of  pearls, 

30  Prdvdrika, 

. Garment-maker, 

wood,  etc.) 

31  Sutrahdra, 

. Uarpenter.J 

8 Bhcdaka. 

Splitter. 

32  Shilpopajivi 

. Artisan, 

9 Dantakdra, 

Ivory-worker.* 

33  Hiranyakdra,  .. 

. Worker-in-gold. 

10  Sudhakdra, 

l)ealer-in-nectar. 

34  Vriddhyupajivi, 

U surer. 

11  Gandhopnjtvi,  ... 

Perfumer. 

35  Prdbdlika, 

. Worker-in-coral. 

12  Svarnakdra, 

Goldsmith. 

36  Skaukarika, 

. Pork-dealer. 

13  Kanakadhdraka, 

Metallic-burnisher. 

37  Matsyopajivi,  .. 

. Fishmonger. 

14  Sndpaka, 

Bather. 

38  blulavdpa. 

. Planter. 

15  Chhddaka, 

Dresser. 

39  Kdnsyakdra,  .. 

. Brazier. 

16  Vaidya, 

Physician. 

40  Chitrakdra, 

. Painter. 

17  Shaundika. 

Distiller. 

41  Dhdnyavikrdyaka  Grain-dealer. 

18  BhUpika, 

Incense-dealer. 

42  Patiyavikrayi  .. 

. Huckster. 

19  Rajaka, 

Washerman. 

43  Phalopajivi, 

. Fruit-seller. 

20  Tantravdya, 

Weaver. 

44  Pushpopajivi,  .. 

. Flower-seller. 

21  Rangopajil'i,  ... 

Actor. 

45  Lepakdra, 

. Plasterer. 

22  Abhishtavaku,  ... 

Encomiast. 

46  Stkapataya, 

. Architect. 

23  .S'uia , 

Suta. 

47  Takshdna, 

. Carpenter. 

24  Mdghada, 

Msighada. 

48  Kdrayantrika,  .. 

. Instrument-maker, 

* Literallj',  toothworkcr.  f Probably  the  equivalent  of  Bandijaii, 

X The  occupation  of  the  Varata  (man  of  a particular  racc^  is  unkno^vu. 

§ Binding  by  cords,  instead  of  nails,  seems,  judging  from  the  etymology  of  bis  name,  to  have 
been  originally  his  wont. 


CASTE  IN  THE  ETiCS— THE  RAIMAYANA. 


•225 


49 

!\'iodpaka, 

Seedsman. 

50 

Jshtakdkdraka,... 

Brickmaker. 

51 

Dadhimodakdra, 

Cheesemaker. 

52 

Mdldkdra, 

Gardener. 

53 

Chang  irika-vik- 

Seller-of- wood-sor- 

rayi. 

rel.* 

54 

Mdnsopajivi,  ... 

Flesher. 

55 

PatHkdvdpaka, 

Planter-of-thc 

Lodli-tree.f 

56 

Chkrnopajim,  ... 

SelIer-of-po\vders. 

57 

Kdrpdsika, 

Cotton-dealer  (or- 
teazer). 

58 

Dhanushkdra,  ... 

Maker-of-bows. 

59 

Sutravikrayi,  ... 

Thread-seller. 

60 

Shastrakarma- 

krii, 

Armourer, 

61 

Kdndakdra, 

Betelnut-seller. 

62 

TambuUka. 

Leaf-seller. 

63 

Chitrambhajanti, 

Draftsman. 

64 

Ckarmakdra,  ... 

Currier. 

65 

Lohokdra, 

Blacksmith. 

66 

Shaldkdshalaya- 

Maker-of-darts  and 

kartd, 

javelins. 

67 

Viskaghdta, 

Destroyer-of-poi- 

sons. 

68 

Bhutagrahavi- 

dJiijna, 

Exorcist. 

69 

Bdlandmchikit- 

Physician-for-chil- 

sak, 

dren. 

70  Arakutakrita,  ... 

71  Tamrikuta[kvat'\, 

72  Svastikdra, 

73  Keshakdra, 

74  Bhaktopasddha- 

ka, 

75  Brishtakdm, 

76  Shaktukdra, 

77  Shddvika, 

78  Khandakdra,  ... 

79  Vdnijaka, 

80  Kdchakdra, 

81  Chatrdkdra, 

82  V edhahashodka- 

ka, 

83  Khandasansthd- 

paka, 

84  Tdmropajivi,  ... 

85  Shrenhuahattara, 

86  Grdmaghoshama- 

hattara, 

87  Shailmha, 

88  Dijutavaitansilca, 


Brass-founder. 

Copper-founder. 

M aker-of-figures 
(on  floors,  etc). 

Hairdresser. 

Boiler  (Cook). 

Frier  (Cook). 

Baker. 

Confectioner. 

Bealer-in-candied- 

sugar. 

Merchant. 

Cutter-of-crystal,  or 
glassmaker. 

Umbrella-maker. 

Refiner. 

Maker-of-inlaid- 

work. 

Coppersmith. 

Chief-of-a-guild. 

Chief-of-the-town- 

herds. 

Player  (or  Tum- 
bler). 

Diee-player. 


“ Followers  of  each  occupation,”  it  is  added,  “and  all 
other  dealers,  in  the  city  crowded  together,  except  those 
who  were  sick,  old,  and  young.  Brahmans,  who  were 
pure,  versed  in  the  Vedas,  and  distinguished,  thousands  in 
number,  came  along  behind  Bharata,  who  proceeded  with 
his  luggage  loaded  on  bullocks.”  J To  these  Brahmans  he 
had  given  abundant  largesses  on  the  occasion  of  his  having 
performed  the  first  funeral  obsequies  (shraddha)  of  his 


* rrobabI.v  for  rinsing  the  teeth.  t For  what  use  ? 

i Ram.  ii.  90.  In  the  northern  recension  (Bombay  edition,  ii.  83, 
Ibh  161),  the  classes  enumerated  are  much  fewer  than  tho.se  in  this  list. 

29 


226 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


father.  Vasishtha  advised  him  to  occupy  the  throne, 
promising  that  the  people  of  the  north,  west,  and  south, 
the  Keralas  (the  people  of  the  Konkan  and  Malabar),  the 
Dandadharas,  and  the  dwellers  on  the  coast  of  the  ocean, 
would  bring  him  gems  (in  token  of  subjection,)* 

In  the  list  above-quoted  there  can  be  nothing  more  than 
an  attempt  to  represent  the  occupations  of  the  times  of 
Rama,  to  which  the  poem  is  posterior.  Whether  or  not  it 
belonged  to  the  poem  in  its  original  form,  it  is  impossible 
to  say.  It  shows  an  advanced  state  of  society,  as  far  as 
diversities  of  occupation  are  concerned.  What  is  most 
worthy  of  notice  in  it  is,  that  the  profession ists  which  it 
enumei'ates  are  mentioned  seemingly  without  any  refer- 
ence to  the  rank  usually  recognized  in  caste  arrangements. 
Many  of  them,  it  is  obvious,  must  have  belonged  to  the 
A'ryau  race. 

The  Ramayana  mentions  some  of  the  aboriginal  tribes 
of  India  with  greater  respect  than  that  accorded  to  them 
in  Mann.  Rama  in  an  early  stage  of  his  wanderings  near 
the  Ganges  met  “ the  virtuous  Guha,  the  beloved  chief  of 
the  Ni.«hadas.”t  The  occurrence  of  the  Nishadas  at  this 
place  seems  to  indicate  that  the  progress  oftlie  A'ryan  race 
in  the  eastern  country  was  still  but  limited.'j:  The  forest 

tribes  represented  by  Hanuman,  Sugriva,  etc.  were  his 
great  auxiliaries  in  his  alleged  journey  to  Lanka.  The 
Palliovas,  Shalcas  (Sacoe,  Scythians),  Yavanas  (lones  or 
Greeks)  Kambojas,  Varvaras  (Barbaroi),  Haritas,  Kird- 
Ram.  ii.  88.  7. 


f 3IfJTr^rr?r  (THTffJrr  Ram.  i.  l.  29.  Bombay  ed.  et 


in  al.  loc. 


t 


For  Rama’s  intercourse  with  Guha,  see 


Ram.  ii.  52.  Gor. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  EAMAYAXA. 


00 


V 


tds,  and  Mlechchas  are. spoken  of  as  most  valiant,  tliongli 
most  impure,  peoples,  in  the  narrative  of  the  contests 
between  Yashishtlia  and  Vishvamitra  in  the  first  book. 
Tbe  Chdadalas  (tlie  Gondaloi  of  Ptolemy*)  are  more  than 
once  mentioned  as  conveying  defilement  to  those  coming 
in  contact  with  tliem.  The  sons,  or  disciples  of  Vasisbtha, 
are  represented  as  asking,  in  opposition  to  Vishvamitra, 
originally  a Kshatriya,  bow  tbe  gods  can  eat  the  sacri- 
fice when  it  is  offered  by  a Kshatriya  officiating  as  a 
priest  (i/ajala)  for  a Chdndala,  and  how  Brahmans  after 
eating  the  food  of  a Chandala  can  go  to  heaven  purified 
by  ATshvamitra.f  Yet  Rama  is  said  to  have  called  the 
chief  of  the  twice-born  (tlie  Brahmans)  to  kindle  the  fire 
of  the  Homa,  to  repeat  mantras,  to  scatter  the  Knsha 
grass,  and  to  oflier  clarified  butter  to  the  fire,  on  the 
occasion  of  the  instalment  on  the  throne  of  the  monkev 

•J 

Bali,  who  did  not  recover  from  the  wound  of  his  arrow.;,'; 

The  most  extensive  allusions  to  the  provinces,  tribes,  and 
nations  of  India  which  the  Rdmayana  contains  are  made  in 
the  orders  issued  by  Sugriva  to  his  monkey-hosts  to  search 
for  Sita  after  her  abstraction  by  Havana.  Connected  with 
the  East,  mention  is  made  (in  addition  to  that  of  mythical 
beings)  of  the  Shakas,  Pulindas,  and  Kalingas ; of  tlie 
Sumhhas,  Videhas,  Kashikosbalas,  Magadhas,  Danda- 
kulas,  Vangas,  and  Angas;  and  of  the  Kiratas,  the  black- 
mouthed  Parakas  and  Karhukas,  Connected  with  the  South, 
are  noticed  the  Mekalas,  Utkalas,  Chedas,  Dasharnas, 

* Ptol.  Geo.  vii. 

f Rilni.  59.  11-15.  See  on  this  Muir’s  Texts,  i.  p.  102. 

t Rilin.  ir.  25.  27-28. 


228 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Knkiiras,  Antavvediis  ; the  Bhojas,  Piindyas,  the  Vidar- 
hlia.^s,  Rishikas,  Ashmakas,  Pnliiidas,  and  Kalingas  ; the 
Aundras  (Andhras  ?),  tlie  Dravidas,  Pimdras,  Cholas,  and 
Keralas.  Connected  with  the  Weat  reference  is  made  to  the 
Surashtras,  Yalhikas,  Bhadras,  and  Ahhiras ; tlie  Suviras, 
Anlias,  and  Kolukas  ; tlie  Kaikeyas,  Sindhusaiiviras ; 
Anarttas ; the  inhabitants  of  Main*  and  Anumarn,  the 
Shnrabhiras ; tlie  Pahlavas,  and  the  inliahitants  of  the 
Panchanada,  Kashmir,  the  city  of  Takshasldla,  Shalaka, 
and  tlie  Shalvas.  Connected  with  the  North,  are  mentioned 
the  Maisyas,  Pnliiidas,  Sharasenas,  the  Pracharas,  the 
Bhadrakas,  the  Kurus  and  Madrakas,  the  Gaiidharas,  the 
Yavanas,  Shakas,  Odras,  Paradas,  Vidhikas,  Paiiravas, 
Kinkaras,  Chinas,  and  Aparchhias,  the  Tukharas,  \arvaras 
(or  Barbaras),  Kambojas,  and  Daradas,  the  Kiratas,  Tan- 
kanas,  Bhadras,  and  Pashupalas,  and  the  Uttara  Knrus.t 
The  portion  of  the  poem  in  which  these  names  occur  is 
probably  one  of  its  later  sections. 

Rama  on  recovering  his  wife,  and  abandoning  her 
from  suspicion  after  she  had  passed  through  the  ordeal 
of  fire,  and  being  inaugurated,  is  made  to  give  to  the 
Brahmans  “ thousands  of  thousands  of  cows,  hundreds 
of  humh’eds  of  bulls,  30,000,000  goldings,  conveyances, 
food,  clothes,  beds  and  couches,  and  very  many  vil- 
lages.”! 

The  Raiiiayana,  so  interesting  in  a literary  point  ofvieu, 
ends  with  the  glorification  of  the  Brahmans,  whose  exal- 
tation was  ever  in  the  view  of  its  authors. 

* Also  given  as  Marabliumi. 

i Ram.  vi.  112.  84-G. 


I Ram.  iv.  40.  41.  43.  44. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABHAllATA. 


229 


2.  The  3Iahdbharata,  to  wliicli  we  now  proceed,  is  a 
u ork  of  great  size.  It  is  generally  spoken  of  as  contain- 
ing 100,000  stanzas ; hut  this  was  certainly  not  its  original 
hulk.  The  first  printed  edition  [puhlislied  at  Calcutta],  writes 
Professor  II.  H.  Wilson,  “ contains  107,389  shlokas ; hut 
this  comprizes  the  supplement  called  Hari\ansha,  the 
stanzas  of  which  are  16,374,  and  Avhich  is  certainly  not 
a part  of  the  original  Mahahharata.”’*'  In  its  first  chapter 
it  is  represented  as  repeated  hy  the  Sauti  (or  Suta)  Ugra- 
shava,  the  son  of  Lomaharshana,  to  the  Rishis  of  the 
Naimisha  forest.  It  is  attributed  to  Krishna  Dvaipayana, 
or  Vydsa  (“  the  ’extender”),  who  is  said  to  have  compre- 
hended it,  in  its  first  edition,  in  24,000,  stanzas,  hut  without 
the  Upakhyaiias  (“  inferior  narratives”)  devoted  to  the  gods, 
pitris  (ancestorial  manes),  Gandharvas,  and  men,  which 
when  added  raised  it  to  100,000.|  It  is  said  to  have  been 
communicated  hy  Narada  to  the  Gods ; by  Devala  to 
the  Pitris  ; hy  Shuka,  to  the  Gandharvas,  and  hy  Vai- 
shampayana,  (who  heard  it  from  his  master  at  a sacrifice  of 
king  Janamejaya,  the  disciple  of  Vyasa,)  to  Men.  It  is  said 
of  it  that  some  Brahmans  commence  it  Avith  the  word 
Mami ; some,  with  cislika ; and  some  Avith  i/joaric/tara,]; 
In  all  probability  the  editions  of  it  have  been  numerous, 
episodes  and  interpolations  having  been  added  to  it  at 
various  times,  hy  Brahmanical  agreement.  Its  name, 
according  to  some,  means,  ‘‘of-great-Aveight”  ; and  accord- 
ing to  others,  Avho  are  probably  right  in  their  opinion, 
“ AAdiat-pertains-to-the-great-(king)-Bharata.”  Vyasa,  to 


* Introduction  to  Johnson’s  Selections  from  the  Mahiibharata. 
t iUahabh.  i.  1.  101  (p.  4).  J Mahabh.  i.  1.  52  (p.  3). 


230 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


whom  its  original  authorship  is  assigned,  is  said  to  liavc 
been  the  half -brother  of  ViehitraA  Irva  (of  the  Lunar  Race 
of  kings)  by  whose  widowed  wives  (Ainba  and  Amhalika) 
he  had  as  sons  Pandu  and  Dhritarashtra.*  Pandu  had 
five  sons,  called  the  Paiidavas — Yuddhi.«hthira,  Bliima, 
and  Arjnna  by  his  wife  Pritha;  and  Naknla  and  Sahadeva 
by  his  wife  JMadri.  Dhritarashtra  had  the  parentage  of  a 
hundred  sons  ascribed  to  him,  collectiyely  called  the  Kau- 
ravas  as  descended  from  king  Kuril,  of  whom  Dnryodhana 
the  oldest  was  the  most  distinguished.  The  subject  of  tlie 
poem  of  the  iMahahharata  is  a war  for  sovereignty, — the 
possession  of  the  throne  of  Hastinapura, — between  tlie 
Pandavas  and  Kauravas,  now  mentioned. 

The  story  of  the  “ Mahabharata  is  divided  into  eioh- 

•J  O 

teen  Parvas,  or  “ Segments,” — the  A'di,  Sabha,  Vana, 
Virata,  Udyoga,  Bhishma,  Drona,  Karna,  Shalya,  Saup- 
tika,  Stii,  Shanti,  Anushashana,  Ashvamedha,  A'shram- 
vasika,  Mausala,  Mahaprasthana,  and  Svargarohana, — 
to  the  general  contents  of  which  it  is  proper  for  us  to 
allude,  for  the  sake  of  marking  the  position  of  the  inform- 
ation which  they  afford  on  the  subject  of  caste. 

(1.)  The  A di  Parva  (or  Parvva),  the  Introductory 
Section,  notices  the  general  circumstances  of  the  parties 
Avith  whom  the  Great  War  originated.  Pandu,  “ the 
Pale,”  was,  on  account  of  his  pallor  (perhaps  intimating 
as  supposed  by  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson  a leprous  taint) 

* Krislina  Dvaipayana  is  said  to  have  been  the  son  of  the  Sage 
Pariishara  by  Satyavati  before  her  marriage  to  Shantanu,  tlie  king  of 
Hastinapura.  Vichitravirya,  the  .successor  of  Shantanu,  dying  Avithout 
offspring,  Vyasa,  according  to  the  custom  of  the  times,  raised  up  by 
his  AvidoAvs  heirs  to  the  throne. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABHAKATA.  231 


lield  incapable  of  succession  to  the  throne.  H e conse- 

quently retired  to  the  Himalaya  mountains,  where  his 
sons  were  born  to  him  or  (according’  to  the  legends} 
produced  through  his  wives  by  various  of  the  gods. 
On  his  death  they  were  introduced,  at  Hastinapura,  to 
their  uncle  Hhritarashtra,  who,  on  being’  ultimately  satis- 
fied about  their  origin,  took  them  under  his  care,  and 
educated  them  with  his  own  sons,  who  treated  them  with 
jealousy  and  dislike,  setting  fire  on  one  occasion  to  the 
house  in  which  they  resided  with  their  mother  Pritha. 
The  Pandavas,  warned  by  this  opposition,  secreted 
themselves  in  the  forests,  and  disguised  themselves  as 
Brahmans.  Jt  was  only  when  they  heard  of  the  svayam- 
vara,  (or  the  choice  of  a husband  after  public  trial  of 
capacity  and  prowess)  of  Draupadi,  the  daughter  of 
Drupada,  king  of  Panchala,  in  which  they  were  success- 
ful, that  they  were  again  revealed  in  their  own  character.* 
It  is  curious  to  observe  the  alleged  polyandrism  of  their 
common  wife,  which  is  in  accordance  with  customs  still 
existing  in  Malabar  and  Travankur,  the  South-west 
of  India. 

(2.)  In  the  Sahl  d,  or  Court,  Parva,  various  movements 
at  H istinapura  are  recorded.  Dhritarashtra,  hearing  of 
the  success  of  the  Pandavas  sent  for  them,  and  divided 
the  sovereignty  between  them  and  his  sons,  Yudhi.'shthira 
and  his  brethren  reigning  at  Indraprastha,  and  Dur- 

* For  a spirited  poetical  translation  of  the  Passage  of  Arras,  by 
Prof.  H.  H.  Wilson,  see  Quart.  Or.  Mag.  March  1825.  The  passage 
of  Arras  was  at  Panchala,  and  not  at  Ilastinapur  as  mentioned  in  the 
title  of  this  translation. 


232 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


yodhana  and  his  brethren  reigning  at  Hastinapura,  at  no 
oreat  distance  from  one  another.  Jealousies  and  strifes 

o 

were  tlie  consequence  of  this  arrangement.  Yudhi.di- 
thira,  aided  by  his  brothers,  brought  many  of  the  inferior 
})riiices  of  India  under  his  sway.  He  then  engaged  in 
celebrating  the  ceremonial  of  the  Eajasuya, — in  esta- 
blishment of  his  pre-eminence, — at  which  these  princes 
did  him  obeisance.  The  sons  of  Dhritarashtra,  dislikino- 
his  honours,  but  feigning  a wish  to  promote  the  amuse- 
ment going  on,  challenged  him  to  a game,  resembling 
backgammon,  at  which  he  lost  to  Duryodhana  his  all — 
including  his  kingdom,  wife,  brothers,  and  himself. 
These  were  again  restored  to  him  on  the  intercession  of 
Dhritara.shtra ; but,  on  a second  adventure,  he  incurred 
the  penalty  of  passing,  with  his  brothers  and  their  com- 
mon wife  Draupadi,  twelve  years  in  the  forests  and  an 
additional  year  in  absolute  obscurity,  with  liability  to 
renewal  of  the  whole  period  in  case  of  their  discovery 
in  this  interval. 

(3.)  In  the  Va>m,  or  Forest,  Parva,  we  have  an 
account  of  the  incidents  which  befell  the  Pandavas  in 
their  banishment. 

(4.)  The  Virala  Parva  brings  to  notice  the  intercom- 
munion of  the  Pandavas  with  Virata,  king  of  Matsya- 
desha,  to  whom  they  revealed  themselves  after  the 
completion  of  the  period  of  their  exile,  and  whose  assist- 
ance they  secured  to  avenge  their  wrongs. 

(5.)  The  Udyoga  Parva,  or  Chapter  of  Endeavour,  re- 
lates the  preparations  made  by  both  sides  for  the  terrible 
war  which  was  to  follow.  The  assistance  of  king  Krishna, 
said  to  be  an  Avatara  or  Incarnation  of  Vi.'rhnu,  was  soli- 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHA'BHA'RATA.  233 


cited  by  both  parties,  to  whom  he  was  related  in  blood. 
He  gave  Duryodhana  the  choice  either  of  his  own  personal 
assistance,  or  of  that  of  his  army.  His  military  force  was 
preferred.  In  consequence  of  this  he  was  left  free  to  give 
himself  to  the  Pandavas,  to  Avhose  cause,  as  the  story 
goes,  and  as  the  charioteer  of  Arjuna,  he  gave  invaluable 
assistance,  although  he  afterwards  had  his  own  difficul- 
ties in  battle  with  Jarasandha  and  other  foes. 

(6.)  The  Bhishma  Parva  derives  its  name  from  Blnsh- 
ma,  the  son  of  Shantauu  by  Ganga,  or  the  Ganges-  He 
was  the  paternal  uncle  of  Dhritarashtra,  owing  to  whose 
blindness  he  acted  as  regent  while  his  grand-nephews 
were  under  age.  Though  he  did  not  approve  of  the  con- 
duct of  Duryodhana  to  his  cousins,  he  espoused  the  cause 
of  the  Kauravas.  In  the  first  series  of  battles,  to  which  the 
sixth  parva  is  mainly  devoted,  he  commanded  the  forces 
of  Duryodhana.  He  was  Avounded  in  fight.  Of  the  battles 
which  took  place  under  him  and  the  generals  by  Avhom 
he  was  succeeded,  it  is  correctly  said,  “ Some  of  these 
are  very  Homeric ; but,  in  general,  the  interest  of  the 
narrative  is  injured  by  repetition,  and  the  battles  are 
spoiled  by  the  introduction  of  supernatural  veapons, 
which  leaves  little  credit  to  the  hero  who  vanquishes  by 
their  employment.”* 

7.  The  Drona  Parva  is  named  from  Drona,  the  mili- 
tary preceptor  of  both  the  Kauravas  and  Pandavas,  who 
succeeded  Bhishma  as  commander  of  the  forces  of  the 
Kauravas,  and  proved  a most  competent  warrior^ 


* Prof.  H.  H.  Wilson’s  Preface  to  Johnson’s  Selections  from  the 
Mahabharata. 


30 


234 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


8.  The  Karna  Parva  makes  us  acquainted  with  the 
generalship,  on  the  same  side,  of  Karna,  said  to  be  the 
son  of  A'ditya,  the  Sun,  and  of  Pritha,  before  her  marriage 
to  Pandu.  It  was  the  jealousy  of  his  brethren,  who 
viewed  him  as  a bastard,  which  is  assigned  as  the  reason 
of  his  espousing  the  cause  of  their  adversaries.  He  is 
represented  as  the  king  of  Anga. 

9.  The  Shalija  Parva  gets  its  name  from  Shalya, 
king  of  Madra,  the  successor  of  Karna.  It  was  when 
he  was  leader  that  Duryodhana  was  killed  by  Bhima  in 
a duel  fought  with  Gadas,  or  maces  of  a formidable 
character. 

10.  The  Sauptika  Parva,  or  Section-of-Sleep,  is  named 
from  a nocturnal  attack  made  on  the  Pandavas,  in  the 
repulsion  of  which  they  owed  much  to  Krishna,  their  ally. 

11.  The  or  Female,  Parva  is  named  from  the 
lamentation  of  the  females  over  the  slain  on  both  sides. 
It  also  represents  the  leaders  of  the  war  as  nearly  over- 
whelmed with  grief.  It  contains  some  passages  char- 
acterized by  affection  and  tenderness. 

12.  The  Shdnti  Parva  is  the  section  of  Consolation, 
following  this  grief.  A great  deal  of  the  Hindu  teach- 
ing respecting  the  duties  of  kings  and  the  means  of 
liberation  from  future  births,  put  into  the  mouth  of 
Blnshma,  has  found  in  it  a place.  It  has]  evidently  re- 
ceived many  interpolations. 

(13.)  The  Anushdshana  Parva,  or  Section  of  Law, 
treats  of  general  duties,  the  speaker  also  being  Bhi.fhma, 
about  to  die,  and  the  principal  listener  being  Yudhishthira. 
Its  didactic  })ortions  are  enlivened  by  tales  and  fables, 
according  to  Indian  custom. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS-TIIE  MAHA'BIIA'KA'I'A.  2So 


(14.)  The  AshvamedJta,  or  Horse-sacrifice,  Parva, 
gives  us  ail  account  of  tlie  great  ceremonial  of  Yudliisli- 
thira,  on  his  attaining-  to  acknowledged  sovereignt}^ 

(15.)  The  A'shvamavasika  Parva,  or  Section-of-the- 
Ilefuge,  shows  us  Dhritarashtra,  his  wife  Gandhari  (the 
daughter  of  the  king  of  Gandliara),  and  their  companions 
retiring  to  a hermitage  and  there  dying. 

IG.  The  Mausala  Parva,  or  Section- of- the-Clnh, 
narrates  the  destruction  of  the  race  of  Yadii  of  the  Lunar 
line,  including  that  of  Krishna,  one  of  its  members,  which 
■was  followed  by  the  submergence  of  Dvarika,  his  ulti- 
mate capital. 

The  denomination  and  contents  of  the  two  remaining 
books,  we  mention  in  the  words  of  Professor  H.  H. 
Wilson  : — 

17.  “The  seventeenth  Book  called  the  Mahaprasthanika 
or  Great- Journey,  witnesses  the  abdication  of  his  hardly  won 
throne,  by  Yudhishthira,  and  the  departure  of  himself, 
his  brothers,  and  Draupadi  to  the  Himalaya,  on  their  way 
to  the  holy  mount  Mem.  As  they  ju’oceed,  the  influence  of 
former  evil  deeds  proves  fatal,  and  each  in  succession  drops 
dead  by  the  way  side,  until  Yudhishthira,  and  a dog  that 
followed  them  from  Hastinapura,  are  the  only  survivors. 
Indi-a  comes  to  convey  the  prince  to  Svarga,  or  Indra’s 
heaven  ; but  Yudhishthira  refuses  to  go  thither,  unless 

Admitted  to  that  equal  sky, 

His  faithful  dog  shall  bear  him  company, 

and  Indra  is  obliged  to  comply. 

18.  “ The  eighteenth  Book,  the  Svargarohana  [the  De- 
parture-to-Heaven]  introduces  Yudhishthira  in  his  bodily 


23G 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


form  to  heaven.  To  his  great  dismay  he  finds  there  Diir- 
yodhana  and  the  other  sons  of  Dhritarashtra ; hnt  sees  none 
of  his  own  friends,  his  brothers,  or  Draupadi.  He  demands 
to  know  where  they  are,  and  refuses  to  stay  in  Svaroa 
without  them.  A messenger  of  the  gods  is  sent  to  show 
him  where  his  friends  are,  and  leads  him  to  the  ‘ fauces 
grayeolentis  Avemi,’  where  he  encounters  all  sorts  of  dis- 
gusting  and  terrific  objects.  His  first  impression  is  to  turn 
hack ; hut  he  is  arrested  by  the  wailiims  of  well-remem- 
hered  voices,  imploring  him  to  remain,  as  his  presence  has 
already  alleviated  their  tortures.  He  overcomes  his  repug- 
nance, and  resolves  to  share  the  fate  of  his  friends  in  health, 
rather  than  abide  with  their  enemy  in  heaven.  This  is  his 
crowning  trial.  The  gods  come,  and  applaud  his  disinter- 
ested virtue.  All  the  hoiTors  that  had  formerly  beset  bis 
path,  vanish  ; and  his  friends  and  kindred  are  raised  along 
^vith  him  to  Svarga  ; where  they  become  again  the  celestial 
personages  that  they  originally  were,  and  Avliich  they  had 
ceased  to  be  for  a season,  in  order  to  descend  along  with 
Krishna  in  human  fonns  amongst  mankind  and  co-operate 
with  him  in  relieving  the  world  from  the  tyranny  of  those 
evil  beings,  who  were  oppressing  the  virtuous  and  propa- 
gating impiety,  in  the  chai-acters  of  Duryodhana,  his 
brothers,  and  their  allies.”* 

On  the  Harivansha,  which  is  a supplement  to  the  Maha- 
bharata,  we  do  not  at  present  say  anything. 

In  examining  the  Mahabharata  in  connexion  with  the 
subject  of  our  inquiry,  we  find  a very  decided  social  and 
poetical  exaltation  of  caste  ; some  historical  traces  of  the 
manner  in  which  it  acquired  its  ultimate  establishment  ; 

* Preface  to  John.son’s  Selections  from  the  Mahabharata. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS- THE  MAHA  BIIA'RATA.  237 


mid  some  carious  theoretical  speculations  as  to  its  origin. 
It  is  convenient  to  refer  to  it  in  the  order  of  its  hooks  now 
mentioned. 

(1.)  In  the  first  section  we  have  an  account  of  a strug- 
gle of  the  Brahmans  with  the  Kshalriyas  which,  though  of  a 
wild  character,  may  he  noticed  as  illustrative  of  the  enmity 
Avhich  their  mutual  contests  for  supremacy  during  the  rise 
of  the  caste  system  must  often  have  generated,  I insert 
the  accurate  abstract  of  it  given  hy  Mr.  Muir: — “ There  was 
a king  named  Kritavirya,  hy  whose  liberality  the  Bhrigus, 
learned  in  the  Vedas,  who  officiated  as  his  priests,  had 
been  greatly  emiched  with  corn  and  money.  After  he 
had  o'one  to  heaven,  his  descendants  were  in  want  of 
money,  and  came  to  beg  for  a supply  from  the  Bhrigus,  of 
whose  wealth  they  were  aware.  Some  of  the  latter  hid 
their  money  under  ground,  others  bestowed  it  on  Brah- 
mans, being  afraid  of  the  Kshatriyas,  while  others  again 
gave  these  last  what  they  wanted.  It  happened,  however, 
that  a Kshatriya,  while  digging  the  ground,  discovered  the 
money  concealed  in  the  house  of  a Bhrigu.  The  Ksha- 
triyas then  assembled  and  saw  this  treasure,  and  slew,  in 
consequence,  all  the  Bhrigus,  down  to  the  children  in  the 
womb.  The  widows,  however,  fled  to  the  Himalaya 
mountains.  One  of  them  concealed  her  unborn  child  in 
her  thigh.  The  Kshatriyas,  hearing  of  its  existence, 
sought  to  kill  it  ; but  it  issued  forth  with  a lustre  which 
blinded  the  persecutors.  They,  now  humbled,  supplicated 
the  mother  of  the  child  for  the  restoration  of  their  sight  ; 
but  she  refeiTed  them  to  her  wonderful  infant  Aurva  (into 
whom  the  whole  Veda,  with  its  six  Vedangas,*  had  entered), 
* See,  above,  p.  216. 


238 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


as  the  person  who  had  rohhed  them  of  their  sight,  (in  re- 
taliation of  the  slaughter  of  his  relatives),  and  who  alone 
could  restore  it.  They  accordingly  had  recourse  to  him,  and 
their  eyesight  was  restored.  Ann  a,  however,  meditated 
the  destruction  of  all  living  creatures,  in  revenge  for  the 
slaughter  of  the  Bhrigus  ; hut  his  progenitors  (pitris)  them- 
selves appeared,  and  sought  to  turn  him  from  his  purpose 
by  saying  that  they  had  no  de.sire  to  he  revenged  on  the 
Kshatriyas  ; ‘ whose  violence  the  devout  Bhrigus  had  not 
overlooked  from  weakness,  but  had  rather  sought  to  pro- 
voke, by  concealing  their  money,  (for  which,  in  view  of 
heaven,  they  cared  nothing,)  in  order,  when  weary  of  life, 
to  bring  about  their  own  destruction  by  the  hands  of  those 
irritated  warriors,  that  so  they  might  he  exalted  the  sooner 
to  paradise.’  ‘ Destroy  not  the  Kshatriyas,  O sou,’  they 
concluded,  ‘ nor  the  seven  worlds  ; abandon  your  kindled 
wrath,  which  nullifies  the  power  of  austeriUy.. Aurva, 
however,  argued  against  this  clemency  on  grounds  of  jus- 
tice and  policy ; and  urged  that  his  wrath,  if  it  found  no 
other  vent,  would  consume  himself.  He  was,  however,  at 
length  persuaded  by  the  pitris  to  throw  it  into  the  sea, 
where  it  found  exercise  in  assailing  the  watery  element : — 
“ Having  become  the  great  Hayashiras,  known  to  those 
who  are  acquainted  with  the  Veda,  which  vomits  forth  that 
fil  e,  and  drinks  up  the  waters.”*  This  legendry,  the  ob- 
ject of  which  is  apparent,  appears  in  various  other  forms  in 
the  Mahabharata  and  other  works.  The  phosphorescence 
of  the  sea,  seen  when  ships  move  along,  is  pointed  to, 
even  in  the  present  day,  as  the  flashings  of  the  Aurvagui, 
or  submarine  fire  of  Aiu’va. 

* Mahdbharatca,  i.  v.  6802,  et  seq.  Miiir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  152. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIA'BIIA'RATA.  239 


The  celebration  of  the  glory  (mahatmya)  of  Brah- 
mans is  said  to  be  one  of  the  objects  of  the  Mahabharata 
itself.*  Desiring’  the  favour  of  Brahma  and  the  Brah- 
mans, it  is  said  Vyasa  formed  the  divisions  of  the  Vedas, 
■wherefore  he  is  called  Vyasa,  tlie  Divider.f 

Without  reference  to  the  alleged  origin  of  the  castes 
from  the  bodily  members  of  the  divinity,  it  is  said,  that 
“ the  known  mental  sous  of  Brahma  are  the  six  Mahar- 
shis,  Marichi,  Atri,  Angiras,  Pulastya,  Pulaha,  and 
Kratu  From  these  Maharshis,  according’  to  the  con- 
text, all  created  beings  have  sprung. 

Concerning  the  eight  kinds  of  marriage  prescribed  in 
the  Smriti — the  Brahma,  Daiva,  Arsha,  Prajapatya, 
Asura,  Gandharva,  Rakshasa,  and  Paisacha,  it  is  said 
that  the  first  four  of  them  become  the  Brahman;  the  first 
six,  the  Kshatriya  ; the  Rakshasa,  a king ; and  the  Pai- 
sacha, the  Vitas  and  Shudras.§ 

The  “Brahman,”  it  is  said,  “is  the  chief  of  bipeds,  the 
cow  is  the  highest  of  quadrupeds  ; the  guru  is  the  chief 
of  those  that  are  venerable  ; and  a son  is  the  chief  of 
those  that  are  delectable.”  |(  Yet,  in  the  context,  it  is 
said  that  “ The  Kshatra  was  created  by  the  Brahma, 
and  the  Brahma  was  formed  by  the  Kshatra.”^!'  Perhaps, 
in  the  latter  clause,  the  reference  is  to  an  allegation  such 
as  we  find  in  the  Chhandogya  Upanishad,  that  Brahma, 
viewed  in  the  Vedantic  sense  of  the  “ science-of-soul,” 

« M.  Bh.  i.  V.  2316.  f Ib.  v.  2417. 

t Ib.  V.  2518.  § Ib.  2962-3. 

11  M.  Bh.  i.  3044. 

UOT  wr?I'4r  dr?T.  Ib.  V.  3377. 


210 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


particularly  as  connected  with  a future  state,  originated 
with  the  Kshatriyas.*  Such  an  origination  of  this  species 
of  learning  is  by  no  means  improbable,  the  Kshatriyas 
ultimately  being  freer  for  speculation  than  the  Brahmans 
enoao-ed  in  the  cumbersome  and  minute  rites  and  cere- 

O O 

monies  which  they  succeeded  in  monopolizing.  The 
credit  given  to  the  Kshatriyas  in  this  matter  was  counter- 
balanced by  the  subsequent  progress  of  the  Brahmans  in 
this  kind  of  learning.  He  who  is  chief  among  the 
knowers-of-Brahma,  is  he  who  excels  in  the  use  of  the 
weapons-of-Brahma.  For  Drona,  a Brahman,  superiority 
even  in  valour  was  claimed. f 

In  a passage,  quoted  by  Mr,  Muir,  “ The  Yavanas  are 
said  to  be  descended  from  Turvasu,  the  Yaibhojas  from 
Druhyu,  and  the  Mlechcha  tribes  from  Ann.”;}:  Remarks 

* The  pre-eminence  of  the  Kshatriya  in  the  case  of  research  as  to 
soul  is  several  times  brought  to  notice  in  the  Chhandogya  Upanishad. 
Mr.  Eajendraliil  Mitra,  in  the  introduction  to  his  edition  and  transla- 
tion of  this  ancient  piece,  says  (pp.  25-26),  “ In  explaining  these 
attributes  of  Om  several  anecdotes  are  related,  in  one  of  which  (v.  8.) 
a Kshatriya  takes  piecedence  of  two  Brahmans  in  explaining  the 
subject  of  their  discourse.  Similar  precedence  is  given  to  the  Ksha- 
trij’as  in  sections  3rd  and  11th  of  the  fifth  chapter,  and  in  the  Kathaand 
Vrihad  Aranyaka  Upanishads.  Nor  does  this  precedence  appear  to 
be  accidental.  Pravahana,  King  of  Panchiila  (ch.  v.  sect.  3)  goes  the 
length  of  asserting  that  the  knowledge  of  man’s  lot  hereafter  was  first 
attained  by  his  own  caste.”  In  reply  to  a question  from  a Brahman  he 
says,  “ Since  you  have  thus  inquired,  and  inasmuch  as  no  Brahman 
knew  it  before,  hence  of  all  people  in  the  world,  the  Kshatriyas  alone 
have  the  right  of  imparting  instruction  on  this  subject.” 

t M.  Bh.  i.  V.  6379. 

i Muir,  i.  p.  178,  M.  Bh.  i.  v.  3533. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABHARATA.  241 


of  this  kind,  however,  are  probably  speculative  for  the 
nonce,  and  not  historical. 

The  Rishi  Vasishtha  is  (probably  fictionally)  associ- 
ated with  the  Bharatas  as  their  family-priest.  He  is 
represented  as  installing  Sainvarana  as  monarch  of  the 
Kshatriya  race,  to  be  a horn  (of  power)  over  the  whole 
earth,  by  the  simple  repetition  of  the  syllable  Om.* 

The  co-operative  subordination  of  the  four  Castes  is 
said  to  have  been  observed  in  the  reign  of  Shantanu.j' 
The  Nishadas  found  by  the  Pandavasand  Kauravas,  on 
their  going  out  to  hunt,  are  said  to  have  been  so  black  in 
their  skin  and  hair  that  the  dogs  began  to  bark  at  them, 
and  to  have  been  particularly  keen  in  hearing. This 
is  an  indication  of  their  long  residence  in  India,  and 
of  their  comparatively  uncivilized  state. 

Suicide  is  declared  to  be  less  heinous  than  Brahmacide, 
for  which  there  is  no  atonement  {nishkriti).^ 

A curious  leo-eud  is  related  at  length  to  enhance  the 
Avorth  and  might  of  the  Brahman  Vasishtha  and  to  depre- 
ciate his  rival  Vishvamitra,  of  Avhom  we  have  already  given 
various  notices.  We  take  the  following  extracts  of  it  from 
Mr.  Muir’s  Texts,  adopting  his  excellent  translation. 
“Having  gained  this  great  and  self-restraining  personage” 
(Vasishtha),  it  is  said,  “ the  Kings  of  Ikshvaku’s  race 
acquired  the  dominion  of  the  earth.  Possessing  this 
excellent  Rishi,  Vasishtha,  for  their  priest,  they  offered 
sacrifice.  This  Brahman-rishi  performed  sacrificial  rites 
for  all  those  monarchs,as  Vrihaspati  does  for  the  immortals. 
Wherefore  let  some  desirable  Brahman,  endoAved  with 
* M.  Bh.  i.  3731,  sq.  See  on  this,  Muir,  i.  p.  135. 

t M.  Bh.  i.  V.  3977-8.  t Ib.  v.  4249.  § M.  Bh.  i.  v.  C227. 

31 


242 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


good  qualities,  whose  chief  characteristic  is  religion,  aud 
who  is  skilled  in  Vedic  observances,  be  selected  as  a family 
priest.  Let  a well-born  Kshatriya,  who  wishes  to  subdue 
the  earth,  first  appoint  a priest,  in  order  to  acquire  domi- 
nion.” The  story  goes  on  to  speak  of  the  cow  of  Va- 
sishtha.  Vishvamitra  offered  “a  hundred  millions  of  cows, 
or  his  kingdom,  as  her  price.  His  offer  was  rejected.  He 
then  said,  ‘He  was  a Kshatriya,  and  Vasishtha  a Brah- 
man, whose  function  was  devotion  and  study ; one  of  a 
class  who  were  gentle  and  destitute  of  power; — and  that 
as  his  offer  was  refused,  he  would  act  agreeably  to  the 
characterof  his  caste, and  take  the  cow  by  force.’  Vasishtha 
told  him  to  do  as  he  proposed  wdthont  loss  of  time.  Vish- 
vamitra seized  the  cow',  but  she  would  not  move  from  the 
hermitage,  though  violently  beaten  with  whip  and  stick  ; 
and  demanded  of  Vasishtha  why  he  did  not  help  her.”* 
In  the  same  parva  there  occurs  another  legend 
connected  with  the  parties  now  mentioned,  in  which  some 
curious  illustrations  are  given  of  Brahmanical  demands 
and  exactions.  Vasishtha  was  the  priest  of  king  Kal- 
mashapada,  son  of  Sudasa  of  the  race  of  Ikshvaku,  an 
office  desired  also  by  Vishvamitra.  The  king,  when 
out  hunting,  desired  Shaktri,  the  eldest  of  Vasi.ditha’s 
hundred  sons  to  get  out  of  the  road.  “ The  king  must 
according  to  all  the  principles  of  law  cede  the  path  to  the 
Brahman,”  was  the  repl}^  The  king  did  not  yield,  but 
struck  the  Brahman  with  his  whip.  The  Brahman,  in 
return,  laid  a curse  upon  the  king,  that  he  should  be- 
come a man-eater.  The  king  was  ultimatelj^  however, 
about  to  give  Avay,  when  Vishvamitra,  who  was  passing 
* M.  Bh.  i.  V.  CG38,  et.  seq.  Muir’s  Tests,  i.  pp.  9G-7. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABHARATA.  243 


l)y,  put  a Rdksliasa  into  him,  wlio  urged  him  to  mischief. 
The  king  sent  some  human  flesh  to  a poor  Brahman, 
^vllo  also  laid  his  curse  upon  him,  to  the  intent  that  he 
should  become  a man-eater.  He  consequently  began 
his  work  by  devouring  all  the  children  of  Vasishtha, 
beginning  with  the  oldest.  Vasishtha  attempted  to 
destroy  himself,  instead  of  destroying  his  rival  Vishva- 
mitra.  ‘This  divine  sage  hurled  himself  from  the  sura- 
mit  of  ]\Ieru ; but  fell  upon  the  rocks  as  if  on  a heap  of 
cotton.  Escaping  alive  from  his  fall,  he  entered  a glow- 
ing fire  ill  the  forest ; but  the  fire,  though  fiercel}'  blazing, 
not  only  failed  to  burn  him,  but  .seemed  perfectly  cool. 
He  next  threw  himself  into  the  sea  with  a heavy  stone 
attached  to  his  neck;  but  was  cast  up  by  the  waves  on 
the  dry  land.  He  then  went  home  to  his  hermitage; 
but  seeing  it  empty  and  desolate,  he  was  again  overcome 
by  grief,  and  binding  himself  with  bonds  he  threw 
himself  into  the  river  Vipasha,  which  was  swollen  by  the 
rains,  and  was  sweeping  along  many  trees  torn  from  its 
banks ; but  the  river  severing  his  bonds,  deposited  him 
unbound  (Vipasha)  ; whence  the  name  of  the  stream,  as 
imposed  by  the  sage.... He  afterwards  threw  himself  into 
the  Shatadni  (Sutlej),  which  derived  its  name  from 
rushing  away  in  a hundred  directions  on  seeing  the 
Brahman  brilliant  as  fire.’  In  consequence  of  this  he 
was  once  more  stranded.  After  roaming  about  over 
many  countries  and  forests,  he  again  returned  to  his 
hermitage ; and  finding  that  his  daughter-in-law  Adrf- 
.shyanti  (Saktrl’s  widow)  was  pregnant  (with  a child,  who, 
when  born,  received  the  name  of  Parashara),  and  that 
there  was  thus  a hope  of  his  lineage  being  continued,  he 


244 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


abstained  from  further  attempts  on  his  own  life.  King 
Kalmashapiida,  whom  they  beheld  in  the  forest,  was  about 
to  devour  them  both,  when  Vasi.?htha  stopped  him  by  a 
blast  from  his  mouth,  and  sprinkling  him  with  water, 
consecrated  by  a holy  text,  he  delivered  him  from  the 
curse  by  which  he  had  been  affected  for  twelve  years. 
The  king  then  addressed  Vasishtha  thus : ‘ Most  excel- 
lent sage,  I am  Saudas,  whose  priest  thou  art : What 
can  I do  that  would  be  pleasing  to  thee?  Vasishtha 
answered  : ‘ This  which  has  happened  has  been  owing  to 

the  force  of  destiny  : go,  and  rule  thy  kingdom  ; but  O 
monarch  never  contemn  the  Brahmans.’  The  king  re- 
plied : ‘ never  shall  I despise  the  most  excellent  Brahmans, 
but  submitting  to  thy  commands,  I shall  pay  them  all 
honor.’  ”*  In  the  Hindu  literature  there  are  other 
legends  of  a similar  character  about  these  personages, 
which  it  would  contribute  but  little  to  our  purpose  here 
to  notice  in  detail.  The  whole  have  originated  in  allu- 
sions in  the  Hig-Veda  to  both  Vasi.'jhtha  and  Vishvamitra 
having  been  family  priests  of  king  Sudasa,  and  at  the  same 
time  having  been  very  jealous  of  one  another’s  influence, 
and  disposed  to  use  their  own  power,  and  that  of  the  gods 
whom  they  invoked,  to  do  one  another  mischief.  They 
testify  merely  to  a struggle  of  the  Brahmans  with  the 
Kshatriyas  in  the  establishment  of  their  priestly  mono- 
poly,!— a struggle,  the  grounds  of  which  are  obvious. 

(2.)  In  the  Sabhd  Parva  we  find  a chapter^  which 
* Muir’s  Texts,  i.  113-117.  M.  Bh.  i.  v.  6699,  et  seq. 
j"  See  Texts  of  Mr.  Muir,  i.  95  et.  seq.,  where  the  legends  are  pati- 
ently collected  and  compared  and  accurately  translated. 

M.  Bh.  ii.  5.  V.  983,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  ETICS— THE  MAHABHARATA.  245 


throws  much  light  on  the  geography  of  ancient  India, 
and  of  the  spread  of  tlie  Aryas  and  their  institutions  in 
this  great  country.  It  is  entitled  Dtgvijaya,  and  treats 
of  the  conquest  of  the  four  quarters  of  the  world  by  the 
brothers  of  Yudhi.?hthira,  and  of  the  gifts  brought  to  him 
by  the  nations  at  the  time  of  his  Rajasuya,  or  coronation 
sacrifice.  It  has  attracted  much  attention  from  European 
orientalists,  though,  from  the  state  in  which  the  text  is 
found,  it  appears  to  liave  been  much  neglected  by  native 
Sanskrit  scholars.  It  has  been  copiously  illustrated  both 
by  Professor  Lassen  and  the  late  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson,* 
as  well  as  compared  with  other  portions  of  the  Mahabha- 
rata  and  of  other  literary  works  of  the  Hindus.  The 
following  findings  are  principally  the  results  of  the  re- 
searches of  Lassen.  Two  routes  in  advance  offered  them- 
selves to  the  ATyans  after  their  settlement  in  the  Pancha- 
nada,  or  Panjab, — one  leading  eastward  in  the  direction  of 
the  Yamuna  and  Ganges,  and  the  other  along  the  Sindhu 
to  the  ocean.  The  valleys  of  the  rivers  rising  in  the 
Himalaya  also  invited  visitors ; and  Kashmira  became 
an  ancient  seat  of  the  Bralrmanic  faith.  The  Daradas, 
contiguous  to  this  region,  however,  followed  not  this  law, 
being  denominated  Dasyus  in  Mann,  as  well  as  in  the 
Mahabharata.  When  the  A'ryas  reached  the  course  of 
the  Yamuna,  they  found  the  Vindhya  range  with  its 

* See  Lassen’s  commentaries  upon  it  in  the  first  and  second  volumes 
of  his  Zeitschrift  fiir  die  Kunde  des  Morgenlandes,  and  in  his  Indische 
Altherthumskunde,  vol.  i.  p.  531  et.  seq.  A translation  of  this  portion 
of  his  invaluable  work  is  given  in  the  Oriental  Christian  Spectator,  for 
May  and  June  1857,  and  March  and  April  1862.  For  Professor 
Wilson’s  illustrations,  see  his  Vishnu  Purana,  pp.  179-197. 


246 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


many  offsets  and  forests.  Following  the  principal  streams 

tlie}^  reached  the  Sarayu  and  the  Kaiishik'i,  where  their 

earlier  capitals  Ayodhya  and  Mithila  were  founded. 

From  Madhyadesha  where  they  now  were,  the  roads,  in 

progress,  went  either  across  the  Yiudhya,  or  round  it  on 

both  sides.  Advances  mav  also  have  been  made  hv  them  to 

%/  » 

the  west  of  the  Aravali  range,  wdiere,  near  the  range  itself, 
the  country  is  not  altogether  barren.  Sura.«htra,  mainly 
the  peninsula  of  Gujarat,  appears  as  early  as  the  Ramayana 
as  an  A ryan  country.  From  Indraprastha  on  the  Yamuna, 
a road  ran  to  the  Narmada  river  l)y  way  of  Ujja3dni ; 
and  another  ran  from  the  province  of  Magadha  to  the 
upper  portions  of  the  Narmada,  but  as  it  passes  through 
the  wild  country'  of  the  Gondas  it  would  not  be  of  much 
use  to  the  A'lyas. 

The  Kulindas  of  the  western  river-valleys  of  the  Hima- 
laya and  the  higher  contiguous  regions  were,  probably,  at 
the  time  of  the  Mahabharata,  an  A'lyan  nation,  never  being 
spoken  of  as  Das\m3,  though  they  must  have  had  but  little 
contact  with  the  Aryan  civilization.  The  regions  conti- 
guous to  the  westei’n  rivers  Aiay  also  be  supposed  to  have 
been  A'lyan,  as  the}'  were  easily  accessible  to  a spreading 
people.  Eastward  from  the  Upper  Ganges  the  population 
was  non-ATvan,  as  were  the  Tanganas  and  Kiratas  of  the 
Sarayu  valley.  Videha  and  Mithila,  under  the  Hima- 
laya, appear,  in  the  pilgrimages,  as  A'lyan  land.  On  the 
whole,  in  the  time  of  the  Mahabharata,  the  A'ryan  pro- 
gress had  not  advanced  farther  to  the  east  than  w'e  find  it 
in  the  Ramayana.  In  other  directions,  however,  that 
progress  was  very  considerable.  While  in  the  Ramaj^ana, 
Anga  was  the  most  south-eastern  A'ryan  land,  w'e  find  in 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABHARATA.  247 


the  Mahabliarata,  powerful  kings  of  the  Pundras,  the  king 
of  Madagiri,  of  Banga,  and  of  Tdmralipta,  and  even  the 
Suhraas  on  the  sea-shore,  mentioned ; while  it  tells  us 
that  the  months  of  the  Ganges  were  frequented  by  pil- 
grims. The  Brahmanic  law,  propagated  by  the  Gautamas, 
had  by  this  time  reached  the  five  principal  nations  of 
eastern  India, — the  Angas,  Pundras,  Bangas,  Suhmas, 
and  Kalingas.  The  river  Vaitaranl,  in  Kalinga,  is  even 
spoken  of  as  a holy  river.  The  worship  of  Shiva  is  said 
to  have  prevailed  in  its  neigtibourhood.  This  region  was 
not  all  subjected  to  Brahmanism.  The  Odras,  Dravidas, 
and  A'ndhras  appear  as  non-ATyan.  In  the  Ramayana 
the  hermitage  of  Agastya  is  placed  in  the  north  of  the 
Upper  Godavari;  in  the  Mahabliarata  it  is  said  to  have 
been  found  by  the  Pandavas  at  the  mouth  of  that  river. 
In  the  Mahabliarata,  the  tirthas  of  the  Kumaris,  or 
Virgins,  is  found  at  the  southernmost  promontory  of 
India,  still  named  from  them  Gape  Comorin.  The 
hermitages  of  the  teachers  of  the  Dakhan  moved  south 
with  the  ATyan  settlements.  A hermitage  is  spoken  of 
as  beino-  at  Gokarna  on  the  western  coast.  Prabhasa 
was  also  there  the  locality  of  a Brahmanical  institution, 
but  further  to  the  north,  possibly  in  the  British  Konkan.* 
►Shurparaka  was  a tirtha  both  on  the  western  and  eastern 
sea,  in  the  latter  case  near  the  mouths  of  the  Krishna. 

No  tirthas  being  mentioned  as  in  the  interior  of  the 
Dakhan,  we  may  conclude  that  at  the  time  of  the 
Mahabliarata  it  was  but  little  aflected  by  Brahmanism. 
JMahishmati,  in  theMaisur,  furnishes  auxiliaries,  liowever, 

* So,  Lassen.  The  Brahmans  of  Surashtra  place  it  at  the  S.  W. 
corner  of  the  Gujarat  Peninsula. 


248 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


to  the  Kurus  through  its  king  Nila.  In  connexion  with 
it,  Agni  is  represented  as  granting  unlimited  liberty  to 
the  women  of  that  land  in  the  choice  of  a plurality  of 
husbands,  as  among  the  well-known  Nairs  of  Malabar  to 
the  present  time.  The  more  southern  part  of  the  Dakhan  is 
treated  as  a country  but  little  known  ; and  there  the  Dig- 
Vijaya  places  the  fabulous  nations — the  one- footed,  the 
black-faced,  etc.  The  known  nations  of  the  south  are 
principally  situated  on  the  coasts,  as  the  Keralas,  Pandyas, 
Dravidas,  Odras,  and  Kalingas.  Vibhishana,  the  brother 
of  Eavana,  is  spoken  of  as  in  Lanka. 

The  Payoshni,  the  river  of-hot-water,  of  which  a 
synonym  of  corresponding  meaning  was  the  Tapti,  was 
at  the  period  to  which  these  notices  refer  rich  in  its  Brah- 
manical  tirthas.*  Yidarbha,  hodie  Berar,  and  Khandesh, 
were  to  a certain  extent  ATyan,  though  many  wild  tribes 
must  then,  as  well  as  at  present,  have  been  residing 
within  their  borders.  The  Godavari  and  Bhimarathi  were 
praised  as  holy  rivers.  Of  the  affluents  of  the  Godavari, 
however,  only  the  Venva  is  mentioned.  The  Praveni  is 
the  frontier  of  the  holy  land  in  the  direction  of  the  Dak- 
shindpatha,  now  corresponding  with  the  Dakhan.  “If 
we  sum  up  these  inquiries,”  says  Professor  Lassen,  “ we 
perceive  a considerable  progress  in  the  propagation 
of  the  Aryan  religion  and  dominion  towards  the  south 
when  compared  with  the  state  of  things  pourtrayed  in 
the  Edindyana.  The  Brdhmanic  cultus  had  spread  from 
Surdshtra  to  Gokarna,  on  the  eastern  coast  not  only  as 
far  as  the  mouths  of  the  Ganges,  but  as  far  as  those  of 

* It  was  perhaps  from  these  settlements,  sacred  to  Agni  the  god 
of  fire,  that  it  received  its  name. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABIIAKATA.  2t9 


the  Gochivari;  and  even  beyond  tliein,  the  kings  of  Kaliji- 
ga  and  Manipura  obeyed  the  laws  of  the  A'ryan  war- 
riors. In  the  interior,  in  the  south  of  India,  we  find  no 
more  the  solitary  hermitages  of  the  Ramdyana  ; but  the 
banks  of  the  Payo.^hm,  of  the  Praveni,  and  of  the  Goda- 
vari are  studded  with  numerous  seats  of  penitents,  while 
the  A'ryan  kings  reign  already  in  the  countries  to  the 
south  of  the  great  mountains  of  separation,  which  are  even 
traversed  by  caravans.  Deeper  in  the  south,  however, 
the  country  is  yet  non- A'ryan,  with  the  exception  of  one 
single  region,  that  of  the  Mahishikas;  and  this,  although 
accepting  Brahmans  and  their  cultus,  still  preserves  its 
peculiar  Dakhan  customs.  The  people  of  the  southern- 
most Dakhan  and  Ceylon  have  entered  into  intercourse 
with  the  inhabitants  of  the  North,  and  have  become  known 
to  them  by  the  products  of  their  countries.  Although 
the  conjecture  that  this  connexion  took  place  by  sea  is 
not  confirmed  by  the  Epos,  we  possess  for  it  the  weightier 
testimony  of  the  Vedas,  that  the  A'ryan  Indians  prose- 
cuted navigation  and  undertook  voyages : because  the 
Ashvins  are  praised  for  exhibiting  their  power  by  protect- 
ing the  hundred-oared  ship  of  Bhujyu  on  the  immeasurable 
bottomless  sea,  and  bringing  it  fortunately  to  the  shore. 

“ The  INIahabharata  affords  also  instructive  hints  on  the 
manner  of  the  A'rvau  propagation.  No  Aryan  empire  is 
mentioned  on  the  west  coast  to  the  south  of  Surashtra.  The 
hermitages,  however,  of  the  Brahmans,  aiid  the  seats  of 
the  Gods,  extend  as  far  as  Gokarna  ; and  thus  far 
pilgrimages  were  undertaken.  But  no  A'ryan  nation  is 
mentioned.  Gokarna  is  now  the  southern  limit  of  the 
domain  of  the  Sanskrit  tongue.  At  the  time  of  Ptolemy, 

32 


250 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tliis  coast,  and  tlie  interior  country  above  it,  was  called 
Ary  aka  ; and  hence  it  must  have  been  occupied  by  ATyans. 
Consequently  the  iinmig-ration  of  the  A'ryans  into  this  part 
took  place  later  than  the  time  of  the  Pandavas,  and  the 
Brahmans  appear  here  only  as  the  precursors  of  A'ryan 
possession.  The  same  holds  good  also  of  the  valley  of  the 
Payoshni,  in  which,  also,  only  seats  of  the  Brahmans  are 
mentioned ; and  the  King  of  A'idarbha  is  not  represented  to 
us  as  a conqueror,  but  as  a founder  of  a Brahmanical  state. 
Consequently  the  Marathas  also  immigrated  after  the 
heroic  time.  Baglana  and  the  country  near  the  som'ces  of 
the  Godavari,  i.  e.  the  first  seats  of  the  Marathas  upon  the 
high  land,  were  not  yet  visited  by  the  Pandavas.  It  is  still 
plainer  handed  down  by  the  my  thus,  that  in  Mahishmati, 
the  Brahmans  introduced  their  cultus  themselves  without 
the  assistance  of  waniors  ; and  by  this  also  the  conjecture 
is  confirmed,  that  the  south  of  India  was  gained  over  to 
Aryan  civilization,  not  by  forced  conversions,  but  by  means 
of  peaceable  missions  of  Brahmans.  For  this  we  have  also 
the  confinnation  of  Ptolemy,  who  mentions  a race  of  Brah- 
mans ill  southernmost  India  on  the  Argalic  gulf.”* 

On  the  names  of  peoples  and  countries  occurring  in  the 
Dig-Vijaya  much  light  has  been  cast  not  only  by  Professor 
Lassen  but  by  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson ; but  it  is  not 
necessary  for  us  to  extend  om’  notices  of  this  and  similar 
portions  of  the  Mahabharata. 

The  carrying  on  of  war,  at  all  hazards  of  life,  is  declared 
to  be  the  duty  of  the  Kshatriya.t 

(3.)  Ill  the  Vana  Parva,  after  it  is  again  stated  that 

* Lassen’s  Indische  Altherthumskunde,  i.  pp.  576-78. 

•f  M.  Bh.  ii.  V.  1951. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS-THE  MAHABHAKATA.  251 


the  Brahma  was  formed  by  the  Ksliatra  and  the  Kshatra 
by  the  Brahma,  the  necessity  of  a Kshatra  having  a Brah- 
man for  instruction  and  advice  is  very  emphatically  set 
forth.  ithout  an  aiTangement  of  this  kind  any  nation 
or  people,  it  • is  said,  will  go  to  destruction.  The  power  of 
the  Brahman  and  Kshatriya  united  together  are  as  fire 
and  Avind  in  the  consumption  of  the  forest — iiTesistihle.* 
With  reference  doubtless  to  the  early  settlement  of  the 
ATyans  near  the  Sarasvati,  it  is  said,  “ They  Avho  dwell  to 
the  south  of  the  Sarasvati  and  to  the  north  of  the  Drishad- 
vati  dwell  in  heaven,”  adding  that  the  district  is  knoAvn  by 
the  name  of  the  very  holy  Brahmakshetra.  OiiAvards  it  is 
said  that  the  disappearance  (in  the  sands)  of  the  Sarasvati 
takes  place  from  its  reaching  the  borders  of  the  Nishadas 
(viewed  as  impure).  “ Here  is  this  delightful,  divine,  and 
fluent  river  the  Sarasvati.  O King  of  men,  (here  is)  what 
is  called  the  Vindshana  (the  disappearance)  of  the  Sarasvati; 
on  accomit  of  the  fault  {dosha)  of  the  commencement  of  the 
region  of  the  Nishadas,  the  Sarasvati,  entered  the  earth. ”f 
The  story  of  Parshurama  and  the  Kshatriyas  is  related 
in  this  parva  A\dth  great  particularity.  The  following  ac- 
curate notice  of  the  legend  is  by  Miv  Muii’ : — 

“Arjun,  son  of  Kritaviryaand  King  of  the  Haihayas,  bad,  weare  told,, 
twenty-one  hundred  arms.  He  rode  in  a chariot  of  gold,  the  march 
of  which  was  irresistible.  He  thus  trod  down  gods,  yakshas,  and 
rishis,  and  oppressed  all  creatures.  The  gods  and  rishis  applied  to 
Vishnu,  and  he  along  Avith  Indra,  who  had  been  insulted  by  Arjuna, 
devised  the  means  of  destroying  the  latter.  About  this  time,  the  story 
goes  on,  there  lived  a king  of  Kanyakubja  called  Gadhi,  who  had  a 
daughter  named  Satyavatl.  The  marriage  of  this  princess  to  the  rishi 
Kichika,  and  the  birth  of  Jamadagni,  are  then  told  in  the  same  way  as 

* M.  Bh.  hi.  V.  975-983.  f Bh.  hi.  v.  5074.  Ib,  v.  10538. 


252 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


above  narrated  in  p.  85.*  Jamadagui  and  Satyavati  had  five  sons,  the 
youngest  of  whom  was  the  redoubtable  Parshurdma.  By  his  father’s 
command  he  kills  his  mother  (in  whom  her  hu-sband  liad  detected  some 
inward  defilement),  alter  the  four  elder  sons  had  refused  this  matricidal 
office,  and  had  in  consequence  been  deprived  of  reason  by  their  father’s 
curse.  At  Parshurama’s  desire,  however,  his  mother  is  restored  by  his 
father  to  life,  and  his  brothers  to  reason,  and  he  himself  is  absolved 
from  all  the  guilt  of  murder.  His  history  now  begins  to  be  connected 
with  that  of  King  Arjuna  (or  Kdrtavirya).  The  latter  had  come  to 
Jainadagui’s  hermitage,  and  had  been  respectfully  received  ; but  he  had 
requited  this  honour  by  carrying  away  by  force  the  calf  of  the  sage's 
sacrilicial  cow,  and  breaking  down  his  lofty  tree.s.  On  being  informed 
of  this  violence,  Parshuriuna  was  filled  with  indignation,  attacked  and 
slew  Arjuna,  and  cut  off  his  arms  (which  according  to  this  version 
were  a thousand  in  number).  Arjuna’s  sons  in  return  slew  the  sage 
Jamadagui,  in  the  absence  of  Parshurama.  The  latter  vowed  to  des- 
troy the  Avhole  Kshatriya  race,  and  executed  his  threat  by  killing  first 
Arjuua’s  sons,  and  their  followers.  “ Twenty-one  times,”  it  is  said,  he 
swept  away  all  Kshatriyas  from  the  earth,  and  formed  five  lakes  of  blood 

in  Samantapanchaka  ; in  which  he  satiated  the  manes  of  the  Bhrigus 

He  then  performed  a grand  sacrifice  to  Indra,  and  gave  the  earth  to  the 
officiating  priests.  lie  bestowed  also  a golden  altar  on  the  sage 

Kashyapa This,  by  his  permission,  the  Brahmans  divided  among 

themselves,  deriving  thence  the  name  of  Khan  avayanas.  Having 
given  away  the  earth  to  Kashj'apa,  Parshurama  himself  dwells  on  the 
mountain  IMahendra.  Thus  did  enmity  arise  between  him  and  the 
Kshatriyas,  and  thus  was  the  earth  conquered  by  Hama  of  boundless 
might.”t 

This  legend,  ^Yhicll  occurs  in  other  forms  elsewhere, 
ma}’^  have  arisen  from  a very  small  beginning,  to  which 
we  have  already  referred.^  The  only  historical  fact  on 
which  it  can  be  founded,  is  that  there  were  olden  quarrels 

* See  p.  237-8  of  this  work. 

I Muir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  156-7  M.  Bh.  iii.  v.  1 1070,  et  .seq. 

I See  before,  p.  148. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS- THE  MAIIABIIAKATA.  253 


about  prerogative  between  Brahmans  and  Kshatriyas. 
Its  intended  lesson  is  the  danger  of  Kshatriyas  trifling 
Avith  Brahmans. 

In  connexion  with  a description  of  the  first  age,  put 
into  the  month  of  Hannman,  it  is  mentioned  that  Brali- 
mans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaisln’as,  and  Shndras  strictly  observed 
the  institutes  of  their  oavu  castes.*  Tliis  representation  Av^as 
intended  as  a hint  for  the  present.  In  the  context,  sacri- 
ficing (for  one’s  self),  giving  of  gifts,  learning  the  Vedas, 
are  said  to  be  common  to  the  three  twice- born  castes; 
Avhile  sacrificing  for  others  and  teaching,  and  taking  alms 
belong  to  the  Bndimans, — protection  (pdlana)  being  the 
duty  of  the  Kshatriyas,  supporting  (poahana)  that  of  the 
Vaish}"as,  and  service  (slmshrushd)  that  of  the  Shudras.f 
The  King  Xahnsha,  the  son  of  A yus,  and  grandson 
of  PnrnraA'as  mentioned  in  the  Vedas,  (avIio  is  represent- 
ed, in  the  first  parva;J:  as  lorcing  even  the  Rishis  to  pay 
him  tribute,  and  to  carry  him  upon  their  shoulders,  in  a 
palanquin,)  is  represented  as  found  by  V udhishthira  as  a 
serpent,  into  Avhich  state  he  had  been  brought  by  the  curse 
of  one  of  them,  Agastya  Muni,  Avhom  he  had  touched 
Avith  his  foot.  He  is  made  to  be  bcAvail  his  pride  and  to 
ask  deliverance  from  Yudhishthira,  whose  name  had  been 
given  as  Ins  saviour  by  the  Muni,  on  his  begging  his 
pardon.  It  is  added  that  Yudhishthira  gave  him  a celestial 
form  in  Avhich  he  ascended  to  heaven.  The  curse  and 
its  limitation  Avere  of  course  both  from  the  Brahman. § 

M.  Bli.  iii.  V.  11241.  f It),  iii.  v.  11298  etseq. 

f Ib.  i.  V.  3151,  et  seq. 

§ M.  Bb.  iii.  v.  12408,  et  seq.  Muir’s  Texts,  i,  G8-9. 


1 


254  WHAT  CASTE  IS. 

In  the  course  of  the  alleged  conversation  between 
Yudhishthira  and  the  Serpent  now  referred  to,  some  of 
the  principles  of  caste  as  affected  by  the  progress  of  Indian 
society,  are  curiously  brought  forward. 

“ The  Serpent  says  : Who,  0 king  Yudhishthira,  is 

the  Brahman,  and  what  is  Knowledge?  Declare  your 
high  judgment  (in  the  case),  I make  inquiry  of  thee. 
Yudhishthira  says  : He  in  whom  are  seen  truth,  libera- 

lity, forgiveness,  virtue,  innocence,  austere-devotion,  and 
compassion,  he,  O king  of  Nagas,  is  according  to  the 
Smriti  a Brahman.  Knowledge,  O Serpent,  is  Parabrah- 
ma,  without  pain,  without  pleasure,  whither,  upon  having 
gone,  they  have  no  grief ; what  more  do  you  wish  to  be 
known  ? The  Serpent  replies : The  establishment  of 

the  four  castes  is  with  proof  (authorized),  and  Brahma  is 
also  true.  But  even  in  Shudras,  O Yudhishthira,  are  | 
truth,  liberality,  wrathlessness,  innocence,  abstinence  from  j 
killing,  compassion.  (The)  knowledge  (of  Brahma  ?) 
is  also  without  pain  or  pleasure,  O Lord  of  men ; and 
without  these  (sensations),  there  is  no  other  thing  but 
Knowledge.  Yudhishthira  says  : When  in  a Shudra  j 

there  is  a mark  of  virtue,  and  it  is  not  in  a Dvfja,  the  I 

Shudra  is  not  a Shudra  and  the  Brahman  is  not  a Brah-  > 

man.  The  person  in  whom  that  mark  of  virtue  is  seen,  jj 

O Serpent,  is  a Brennan;  and  the  person  in  whom  it  is  d 

not  seen  is  a Shudra.”*  The  conversation  is  continued  (I 
here  avail  myself  of  Mr.  Muir’s  translation  of  it)  : “ The 

Serpent  said  : If  you  regard  him  only  as  a Brahman 

w'hom  his  conduct  makes  such,  then  caste  is  of  no  avail 
until  deeds  are  superadded  to  it.  Yudhishthira  replies: 

* M.  Bli.  iii.  vv.  124G9,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABIHVRATA.  255 


O most  sapient  Serpent,  the  caste  of  mankind  is  difficult 
to  determine,  owing  to  the  general  confusion  of  classes. 
Men  of  all  castes  are  continually  begetting  cliildren  on 
women  of  all  castes : the  speech,  the  mode  of  propaga- 
tion. tlie.  birth,  the  death,  of  all  men  are  alike.  This  also 
is  established  by  the  word  of  rishis,  and  is  authoritative, — 
‘ We  who  sacrifice,’  etc.  Hence  those  who  have  insight 
into  reality  consider  virtuous  character  to  be  the  thing 
mainly  to  be  desired.  The  natal  rites  of  a male  are 
enjoined  to  be  performed  before  the  section  of  the  umbil- 
ical cord.  [See  Mann  ii.  29].  Then  Savitri  (the  Gayatri, 
Manu,  ii.  77),  becomes  his  mother,  and  the  religious 
teacher  his  father.  [Manu,  ii.  170,  225.]  He  is  on  a 
level  with  a Shudra  till  he  is  born  in  the  Veda.  [Manu, 
ii.  172.]  In  this  division  of  opinions  Manu  Swayam- 
bhuva  hath  so  declared.  Again,  though  the  prescribed 
ceremonies  have  been  fulfilled?  Yet,  if  good  conduct  is 
not  superadded,  there  is  considered  to  be,  in  that  case, 
a great  confusion  of  castes.  I have  before  declared  him 
to  be  a Brahman  who  aims  at  purity  of  conduct.”*  There 
is  something  here  like  a statement  of  certain  Buddhist 
objections  to  Caste,  though  with  but  a feeble  reply  to  them. 

An  account  of  the  Deluge,  much  extended,  and  different 
from  that  of  the  Shatapatha  Brahmana  which  we  have  in- 
troduced into  a former  part  of  this  work,  [ is  given  in  the 
parva  under  notice.  It  differs  from  that  which  we  have 
cpioted,  in  this  among  other  respects,  that  it  does  not  men- 
tion the  original  residence  of  IManu.]; 

* Muir’s  Texts,  i.  197.  f See,  before,  p.  167  et  seq. 

J M.  Bh.  iii.  12751,  et  seq.  The  passage  has  been  extracted  and 
translated  by  Mr.  Muir  in  his  Texts,  ii.  331-2. 


256 


WriAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  glory  of  the  Brahman  is  emphatically  set  forth  in 
the  following-  instructions  given  to  Yiulhislithira  by  the 
Rishi  Markandeya,  particularly  in  their  conclusion  : — “ Tlie 
person  possessed  of  these  three  piu  ities — purity  of  speech, 
purity  of  conduct,  and  purity  hy  water  (ablution) — is  \Aorthy 
of  heaven  ; of  this  there  is  no  doubt.  The  Brahman  who 
performs  SandJujd  morning  and  evening,  repeating  the 
holy,  divine  (jdyatri,  the  mother  of  the  Yedas,  that  Brah- 
man becomes  hj'  this  divine  (object)  free  from  sin  (tmshta- 
Idlvishah) . He  is  not  to  grieve  for  being  a receiver  of 
gifts,  even  though  of  the  earth  and  ocean  (that  is  of  the 
whole  world).  Whatever  planets,  as  the  sun  in  the 
heavens,  etc.,  may  he  fearful  to  him,  tliey  become  to  him 
prosperous,  and  more  and  more  prosperous  tor  aye.  Pursu- 
ing evil  devils  (phhitdshindh,)*  oi  horrible  form  and  great 
bulk,  do  not  ill-treat  the  Brahman.  From  teaching,  sacri- 
ficing, and  taking  gifts  from  others  (whatever  errors  may 
occur?),  there  is  no  fault,  as  Brahmans  are  like  the  blazing 
tire  (which  consumes  everything).  Whether  ill-instructed 
or  well-instructed,  whether  vulgar  or  refined.  Brahmans 
are  not  to  he  disregarded,  being  as  fire  concealed  in  ashes. 
As  kindled  fire  in  the  hurning-ground  (for  the  dead)  is 
without  fault,  so  the  Brahman  learned  or  unlearned  is  a 
great  deity.”f 

Even  the  Hakshasa  Vihlnshana,  is  made  to  utter  respect 
for  the  Brahmans,  by  declining  to  use  their  instrument 

* Literally,  flesli-eaters. 

■]•  M.  Bh.  iii.  vv.  ■ 13131-13438.  The  following  is  the  Sanskrit  of 
the  two  last  Shlokas  of  this  passage  : — 

41  1114141:  k?4141^4^1 1 W1^'4R14H^-41  i;41?r!l:il 

NO  i 

4311  ^JT^IR  flRlSTl:  414^1  %4  l-'STR  1 44  14S:Rr4§:r^  41  41?T'41  444  1144 II 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABIIAPvATA. 


257 


(that  of  prayer),  while  his  brother  Ravana  was  beseeching* 
Brahma  to  make  him  invisible  to  liis  foes.* 

(4.)  Ill  the  Vinka  Parva,  we  have  the  distribution  of 
works  for  the  four  castes  respectively  mentioned,  as  by 
“ Svayambluiva”  (Mann),  a proof  that  this  portion  of  the 
work  at  least  is  posterior  to  that  Code.f 

(5.)  Ill  the  Udyoga  Parva  there  is  a repetition,  with 
^■ariations,  of  the  story  of  the  haughty  king*  Nahusha, 
evidently  again  brought  forward  to  show  the  danger  of 
ill-treating  the  Brahmans.  J 

(6.)  In  the  Bhishma  Parva  occurs  the  well-kiiowu 
Bhagawad-Gita,  or  Song-of-God,  containing  the  discourse 
between  Krishna  and  Arjima,  in  which  the  latter  party 
relates  his  humane  scruples  about  going  into  battle  when 
the  crisis  of  the  great  war  occurred,  and  the  former  gives 
a reply,  which,  to  use  the  words  of  Mr.  Milman,  breathes 
“ the  terrible  sublime  of  pantheistic  fatalism.”^  The 
system  of  philosophy  on  which  this  remarkable  episode 
is,  in  the  main,  founded,  is  that  of  the  Voga  of  Panlayijali, 
in  Avhich  liberation  from  further  births,  and  absorption 
into  the  divine  Spirit,  (the  great  objects  of  desire  accord- 
ing to  Hindu  speculation),  are  made  dependent  on  the 
knowledge  of  Spirit  and  the  practice  of  contemplative  and 
ascetic  devotion,  so  far  as  indifference  to  pleasure  and 
pain  and  the  suppression  of  emotional  action  are  concern- 
ed. It  is  not  altogether  consistent  or  homogeneous 

* M.  Bh.  iii.  15913.  Muir,  ii.  433. 

f M.  Bh.  iv.  1457.  So  also  in  vv.  830-35  ; 1550-Gl  ; v.  3454  et 
seq.,  etc.  See  Muir  i.  pp.  69-73. 

I M.  Bh.  V.  V.  345,  et  seq. 


§ Quarterly  Review,  vol.  xiv. 


258 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tliroug'liout,  and  as  pointed  out  by  William  de  Humboldt, 
who  viewed  it  as  an  important-cuntribution  to  philosophy, 
has  itself  been  probably  'the  subject  of  additions  and 
interpolations,  from  various  hands.*  Notwithstanding 
its  speculative  character,  it  professes  to  show  respect  to 
what  may  be  called  the  Hindu  institutes.  Its  notices  of 
Caste  are  very  scanty.  The  existence  of  the  mixed 
classes  (Varaa-sankara)  it  traces  to  vicious  women.f 
It  is  probable  that  at  the  time  it  was  composed,  all  il- 
legitimate children  were  reckoned  to  belong  to  the  mixed 
castes,  which,  in  the  first  instance,  had  originated  from 
the  division  of  labour.  Fighting  it  represents  as  the 
supreme  duty  of  the  Kshatriya.^  Probably  with  seces- 
sions to  Buddhism,  more  than  secessions  from  Caste,  in 
view,  but  applicable  to  both,  it  sets  forth  the  general  apho- 
rism : — “ One’s  own  religion,  though  worthless,  is  better 
than  the  religion  of  another,  however  well  instituted  (or 
followed) ; one’s  own  religion  is  profitable  at  death,  while 
that  of  another  beareth  fear.Ӥ  It  represents  Kri.dma 
(as  the  Supreme)  saying : “ They  w'ho  are  of  the  womb- 

of-sin,  women,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras  shall  go  the 
supreme  journey,  if  they  take  refuge  with  me;  how  much 
more  my  holy  worshippers,  the  Brahmans,  and  the 
Rajarsliis.”||  In  connexion  with  its  notices  of  the  three 
qualities  of  truth  passion  (raja),  and  darkness 

* For  a translation  of  Humboldt’s  Essay,  by  the  late  Rev.  G.  II. 
Weigle,  see  a valuable  edition  of  the  Bhagawad-Gita  in  Sanskrit,  Cana- 
rese,  and  English,  published  by  the  Rev.  J.  Garrett,  at  Bangalur,  1849. 

t M.  Bh.  vi.  V.  872. 

X M.  Bh.  vi.  V.  909.  § M.  Bh.  vi.  v.  958. 

11  M.  B.  vi.  1203-4. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABIIARATA. 


250 


(tama),  it  says,  that,  “ The  sacrifice  which  is  performed 
without  the  ordained  rites,  witliout  the  distribution  of 
food,  without  the  mantras,  without  dakshina,  and  without 
faith  is  of  the  quality  of  darkness.”*  The  respective 
duties  and  qualities  of  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  and 
Vaishya,  it  declares  in  the  usual  form,  as  already  given 
by  us  on  its  aiithority.f 

(7.)  In  the  Drona  Parva,  the  Shudras,  along  with  other 
peoples  near  the  Indus,  are  mentioned  as  a people,  J as  in 
the  Dig-vijaya, — a position  consistent  with  that  which  we 
have  supposed  to  have  originally  belonged  to  them.§ 

(8.)  In  the  Kama  Parva,  it  is  mentioned  that  in  the 
appointment  of  Karna  to  succeed  Drona  as  general.  Brah- 
mans, Kshatriy as,  V aishyas,  and  Slnldras  -were  unanimous 
(^sunmatdh).^ 

In  the  same  section  the  following  passage  occurs  : — “The 
Bi'dlnnans,  accorchng  to  the  Shruti,  were  created  by  Brahma 
from  his  mouth  ; the  Kshatra  from  his  arms  ; the  Vaishyas 
from  his  thighs ; and  the  Shudras  from  his  feet.  Other 
distinctions  of  caste  called  Pratiloma  and  Anuloma  w'ere 
produced  from  thein.^  This,  0 king,  was  from  intercourse 
Avith  strange  females  (those  not  belonging  to  one’s  owm  caste). 
The  Kshatriyas,  according  to  the  Smriti,  are  protectors, 
collectors  (of  tribute),  and  givers-of-largesses.  Sacrificing 
for  others,  teaching,  and  taking  pure  alms,  belong  to  the 
Brahmans.  Brahmans  are  established  on  the  earth  for  the 
advantage  of  the  people.  The  Vaishyas  are  in  duty 


* M.  Bh.  vi.  V.  1439. 
X M.  Bh.  vii.  183-4. 

II  M.  Bh.  viii.  390. 


j See  before,  pp.  20,  38,  45. 
§ See  before,  p.  111. 

If  See  before,  p.  63. 


260 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


obligated  to  agriculture,  keeping  of  cattle,  and  liberality. 
The  SJmdras  are  appointed  sen  ants  to  the  Brahma,  Ksha- 
tra,  and  Visha,  Tlie  Sutas  are  appointed  servants  of  the 
Brahma  and  Kshatra.  It  is  not  heai'd  (never  enjoined)  that 
a Kshatriva  should  be  a servant  to  a Suta.  I,  a Munl- 
dhuhhishikta,  (Shalya  is  addressing  Dmyodhana)  who  am 
born  of  a Rajai’shi  family,  O king,  and  wlio  am  addressed 
as  a 3Iaharat1ia,  am  to  be  served  and  praised  by  Bandis. 
T who  am,  as  above  signified,  O king,  do  not  wish  to  be  the 
charioteer  of  a Sutaputra.”  “Having  got  so  dishonoured, 
I will  certainly  not  fight.  Having  asked  (leave)  of  you, 
O son  of  Gaudharl,  I take  my  departure  to  my  own  home.”* 
Duryodhana  afterwards  reminds  Shalya,  that  a chaiioteer 
may  be  superior  to  the  person  driven  (as  was  exemplified 
in  the  case  of  Kri.«lma  and  Arjuna).')'  All  this  is  in 
consistency  Avith  the  orthodox  view  of  Caste,  as  found  in 
ISIanu  and  elsewhere.  J 

In  the  context  of  the  passages  now  referred  to,  much  is 
said  of  the  impurity  of  the  Madrakas,  and  Gandharas, 
Avhose  king  was  Shalya. § Of  the  adjoining  teriitories  of 
the  Bdh'ikas,  the  neighbours  of  the  Madi-as,  a most  curious 
account  is  given,  in  a passage  thus  summarily  translated  by 
Professor  H.  H.  Wilson  : — 

“ An  old  and  excellent  Brahman  reviling  the  countries  Bahilva  and 
hfadra  in  the  dwelling  of  Dhritarashtra,  related  facts  long  known,  and 
thus  described  those  nations.  External  to  the  Himavan,  and  beyond  the 
Ganges,  beyond  the  Sarasvati  and  Yamuna  rivers  and  Kurukshetra, 
between  five  rivers,  and  the  Sindhii  as  the  sixth,  are  situated  the 
Biihikas,  devoid  of  ritual  or  observance,  and  therefore  to  be  shunned. 

* M.  Bh.  viii.  v.  1367  et  seq.  f M.  Bh.  viii.  v.  1621. 

I See  before,  p.  53,  et  seq.  § M.  Bh.  viii.  1837,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIliBIIARATA. 


201 


Theii  fig-tree  is  named  Govardhana  (i.  e.  the  place  of  cow-killing) ; 
their  market  place  is  Subhadram,  (the  place  of  vending  liquor  : at  least 
so  say  the  commentators),  and  these  give  titles  to  the  doorway  of  the 
royal  palace.  A business  of  great  importance  compelled  me  to  dwell 
amongst  the  Bi'ihikas,  and  their  customs  are  therefore  well  known  to  me. 
The  chief  city  is  called  Shakdla,  and  the  river  Apagd.  The  people  are 
also  named  Jarttikas  ; and  their  customs  are  shameful.  They  drink 
spirits  made  from  sugar  and  grain,  and  eat  meat  seasoned  Avith  garlic  ; 
and  live  on  flesh  and  wine  : their  women  intoxicated  appear  in  public 
places,  Avith  no  other  garb  than  garlands  and  perfumes,  dancing  and 
singing,  and  vociferating  indecencies  in  tones  more  harsh  than  those  of 
the  camel  or  the  ass  ; they  indulge  in  promiscuous  intercourse,  and  are 
under  no  restraint.  They  clothe  themselves  in  skins  and  blankets,  and 
sound  the  cymbal  and  drum  and  conch,  and  cry  aloud  Avith  hoarse 
voices.  “ We  Av ill  hasten  to  delight,  in  thick  forests  and  in  pleasant 
places  ; Ave  will  feast  and  sport  ; and  gathering  on  the  high  Avays  spring 
upon  the  travellers  and  spoil,  and  scourge  them.”  In  Shakala,  a female 
demon  (a  Eiikshasi)  on  the  fourteenth  day  of  the  dark  fortnight  sings 
aloud,  “ I will  feast  on  the  flesh  of  kine,  and  quaff  the  inebriating 
sjflrit  attended  by  fair  and  graceful  females.”  The  Shiidra-like  Balnkas 
have  no  institutes  nor  sacrifices  ; and  neither  deities,  manes,  nor  Brah- 
mans accept  their  offerings.  They  eat  out  of  Avooden  or  earthen  plates, 
nor  heed  their  being  smeared  Avith  Avine  or  viands,  or  licked  by  dogs, 
and  they  use  equally  in  its  various  preparations  the  milk  of  CAves,  of 
camels,  and  of  asses.  Who  that  has  drank  milk  in  the  city  Yugandhara 
can  hope  to  enter  Svarga  ? JBa/ii  and  Hika  Avere  the  names  of  two  fiends 
in  the  Vipasha  river;  the  Bdhikas  are  their  descendants  and  not  of  the 
creation  of  Brahma.  Some  say  the  Amttos  are  the  name  of  the  people, 
andBahikaof  the  Avaters.  The  Vedas  are  notknoAvn  there,  nor  oblation, 
nor  sacrifice,  and  the  gods  Avill  not  partake  their  food.  The  Prasthalas 
(perhaps  borderers),  Madras,  Gandhdvas,  A'rattas,  IGiashas,  Vasas, 
Atisindhus,  (or  those  beyond  the  Indus),  Saum'ras,  are  all  equally  in- 
famous. There  one  who  is  by  birth  a Brdlnnan,  becomes  a Kshatriya,  or 
aVaisliya,  or  a Sliudra,  or  a Barber,  and  having  been  a barber  becomes 
a Brdlman  again.  A virtuous  Avoman  Avas  once  violated  by  Aratta 
ruffians,  and  she  cursed  the  race,  and  their  Avomen  have  ever  since  been 
unchaste.  On  this  account  their  heirs  are  their  sister’s  children,  not 


262 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tlieir  own.  All  countries  have  their  laws  and  gods  : the  Yavanas  are 
•wise,  and  pre-eminently  brave ; the  Mlechchas  observe  their  own  ritual, 
but  the  MadraJ:as  are  worthless.  Madra  is  the  ordure  of  the  earth  : it 
is  the  region  of  ebriety,  unchastity,  robbery,  and  murder : fie  on  the 
Panchanada  people  ! fie  on  the  Aratta  race  !"' 

From  tliis  it  is  evident  that  if  ever  the  Madras  and 
Bahikas  (or  Yahlkas)  were  under  A'ryan  influence,  they 
had  contrived  to  make  their  escape  from  it  at  the  period 
liere  represented.  Some  of  the  Caste  customs  of  the 
A'ryas  are  here  revealed  by  our  turning- the  vices.charged 
hv  the  narrator  into  virtues. 

(9.)  In  the  Shahja  Parva,  there  are  several  stories 
settino’  forth  the  struggles  of  Vishvamitra  to  attain  Brah- 

o o o 

manhood. f Their  intended  lesson  is  like  that  pertaining 
to  this  matter  found  elsewhere : — The  Brahmanhood, 
after  the  formation  of  the  first  of  the  race  of  the  head- 
horn,  was  held  was  to  be  a privilege  of  birth,  except  when 
superhuman  efforts  were  made  by  the  favour  of  the  gods 
to  obtain  its  advantages. 

(10.)  In  the  Sauptika  Parva,  Ashvathama,  the  son 
of  Droua,  a Brahman,  apologizes  for  his  knowledge  of  war 
and  the  affairs  of  tlie  Ksliatriyas  by  pleading  his  own 
povert}^  the  sole  cause  of  his  abandonment  of  Brahma- 
nical  works.J  Poverty  is  a great  plea  for  remissness  in 
caste  observances  even  at  the  present  day. 

(11.)  In  the  Stri  Parva,  we  find  nothing  bearing  on 
Caste.  The  writers  and  framers  of  the  Mahabh^rata  have 

* M.  Bh.  viii.  2026,  et  seq.  Asiatic  Researches,  vol.  xv.  pp.  108-9. 

•|-  M.  Bh.  ix.  V.  2265,  et  .seq. ; v.  2357,  et  seq.  These  passages  are 
trauslatedin  Muir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  200-1  ; 202-204. 

1 M.Bh.  ix.v.  122-5. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAHABHARATA. 


2()3 


refrained  from  discussing  any  of  the  questions  raised 
respecting  it  with  mourning  women. 

(12.)  In  the  Parva,  Arjuna  teaches  that  death 

in  battle  is  better  than  all  sacrifices  for  a Kshatriya. 

In  the  Itajadharmdmishdsana  section  of  this  division  of 
the  Bharata,  there  is  much  said  on  the  religion  and  duty  of 
kings,  corresponding  with  what  we  find  in  the  Law-books.  * 

The  legendry  respecting  Parashurama  and  the  alleged 
destruction  of  the  Kshatriyas  here  appears  in  a very 
advanced  and  extended  form.  The  followino-  is  an 

o 

abridgement  of  what  is  found  respecting  it  in  Mr. 
Muir’s  Texts : — 

“ Jamadagni  was  father  of  Parashurama,  “ who  became  perfect  in 
all  science,  thoroughly  versed  in  archery,  and  the  slayer  of  the  Kshatri- 
yas, himself  violent  as  flaming  fire.  By  propitiating  Mahiideva  he 
obtained  among  other  things  the  irresistible  axe,  (parasliu ),  from  which 
his  name  is  derived.  Arjuna,  son  of  Kritavirya,  kingof  the  Haihayas, 
is  here  represented  as  a dutiful  and  religious  monarch  who,  at  an 
Ashvamedha  (horse-sacrifice)  bestowed  on  the  Brahmans  the  earth  Avith 
its  seven  continents  and  mountains,  Avhich  he  had  conquered  Avith  his 
thousand  arms.”  He  had,  however,  been  cursed  by  the  sage  A'pava 
(Vasishtha)  to  haAm  those  arms  cut  off  by  Parashurama.  Being  of  a 
meek,  pious,  kind,  and  charitable  tlirn  of  mind,  the  valiant  Arjuna 
thought  nothing  of  the  curse  ; but  his  sons,  avIio  Avere  of  a barbarous 
disposition,  became  the  cause  of  his  death.  Unknown  to  their  father, 
they  took  aAvay  Jamadagni’s  calf,  and,  in  consequence  Parashui'aina 
attacked  Arjuna,  and  cut  oflf  his  arms.  His  sons  relatiated  by  kilhng 
Jamadagni.  Parashurama  having  voAved  in  consequence  to  SAveep 
aAvay  all  Kshatriyas  from  the  earth,  seized  his  Aveapons,  and  slaughter- 
ing the  sons  and  gi-andsons  of  Arjuna,  with  thousands  of  the  Haihayas, 
he  cleared  the  earth  of  Kshatriyas,  and  converted  it  into  a mass 
of  ensanguined  mud.  Then,  being  penetrated  by  deep  compassion,  he 
Avent  to  the  forest.  After  thousands  of  years  had  elapsed  he  Avas 

* See  before,  pp.  37-44. 


204 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


taunted  by  Pardvasu,  the  grandson  of  Visbvamitra,  with  having  failed 
to  fulfil  his  threat,  and  vainly  boasted  in  public  of  having  killed  all  the 
Kshatriyas,  (as  many  of  that  tribe  were  there  present),  and  with  having 
withdrawn  from  fear ; while  the  earth  had  again  become  overrun  by 

them the  K.shatriyas  who  had  before  been  spared  had  now  grown 

powerful  kings.  These  however,  being  stung  by  Paravasu’s  taunt, 
Parashurama  now  slew,  with  their  children,  and  all  the  yet  unborn 
infants  as  they  came  into  the  world.  Some,  however,  were  preserved 
by  their  mothers.  Having  twenty-one  times  cleared  the  earth  of 
Kshatriyas,  he  gave  her  as  a sacrificial  fee  to  Kashhyapa  at  the  con- 
clusion of  the  Ashvamedha.  Kashyapa,  making  a signal  with  his  hand, 
in  which  he  held  the  sacrificial  ladle,  that  the  remaining  Kshatriyas 
should  be  spared,  sent  away  Parashurama  to  the  shore  of  the  southern 

ocean Having  received  dominion  over  the  earth,  Kashyapa  made 

it  an  abode  ofBrahmans,  and  himself  Avithdrew  to  the  forests.  Shiidras 
and  Vaishyas  then  began  to  act  lawlessly  toAvards  the  Avives  of  the 
Brahmans,  and,  in  consequence  of  there  being  no  goveimment,  the 
Aveak  Avere  oppressed  by  the  strong,  and  no  one  was  master  of  his 
property The  earth  being  distressed  by  the  Avicked,  in  conse- 

quence of  that  disorder,  descended  to  the  loAver  regions,  etc.  This 
goddess  earth  then  supplicated  Kashyapa  for  protection,  and  for  a king. 
She  had,  she  said,  preserved  among  the  females  many  Kshatriyas  AA'ho 
had  been  born  in  the  race  of  the  Haihayas,  and  Avhom  she  desired  for 
her  protectors.”  Among  these  are  mentioned  Sarvakarma,  the  son 
of  Saudasa,  “Avhom  the  tender-hearted  priest  Pariishara  had  saved, 
performing,  though  a Brahman,  all  menial  offices,  ( Sarvakaiinam) 

for  him  like  a Shudra, — whence  the  prince’s  name ‘All  these 

Kshatriyas’  descendants  have  been  preserved  in  different  places If 

they  protect  me  I shall  continue  unshaken.  Their  fathers  and  grand- 
fathers Avere  slain  on  my  account  by  Kama,  energetic  in  action.  It  is 
incumbent  on  me  to  avenge  their  cause.  For  I do  not  desire  to  be 
always  protected  by  an  extraordinary  person  [?  stich  as  Kashyapa?]  ; 
but  I Avill  be  content  Avith  an  ordinary  ruler  (?).  Let  this  be  speedily 
fulfilled.’  Kashyapa  then  sent  for  these  Kshatriyas  Avho  had  been 
pointed  out  by  the  earth,  and  installed  them  in  the  kingly  office.”* 


*_  Muir's  Texts,  i.pp.  157-1.59.  M.  Bli.  xii.  v.  1745,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS- THE  MAHABHAKATA.  2(55 


I’liis  legeiidry,  as  we  have  already  hinted,*  may  have 
had  but  a very  slender  beginning.  For  its  extension 
there  may  have  been  a strong  motive  at  the  time  it 
assumed  the  form  now  given.  This  motive,  1 venture  to 
think,  was  the  disparagement  of  the  Kshatriyas  at  the 
time  when  the  Buddhist  faith,  patronized  by  the  Ksha- 
triyas, began  to  prevail.  But  this  matter  we  may  after- 
wards notice. 

Prithu,  (the  son  of  Vena,  mentioned  as  a refractory 
king  by  Manuf),  is  represented  in  the  Parva  before  us 
as  very  respectful  to  the  chief  of  the  twice-born.  “ In 
thought,  deed,  and^^  word,”  it  was  enjoined  upon  him, 
“ take  on  thyself,  and  constantly  renew  the  engagement 
(pratijnd)  to  uphold  the  earthly  Brahma  (Vedic  ser- 
vices)... And  promise  that  thou  will  exempt  the  Brah- 
mans from  punishment,  and  preserve  society  from  the 
confusion  of  castes.  The  son  of  Vena  then  addressed  the 
gods  headed  by  the  Rishis:  ‘ The  illustrious  Brahmans, 

the  chief  of  men,  shall  be  venerated  by  me.’J  In  this 
veneration  much  moral  excellence  was  concentrated,  ac- 
cording to  Brahmanical  notions.  In  the  context,  a fanci- 
ful derivation  of  the  name  Kshatriya  is  thus  given  : — 
“The  Kshatriya  is  so  called  from  saving  the  Brahmans 
from  Ksliata  (hurt).Ӥ 

Long  discussions  are  carried  on  between  Bhishma  and 

* See  before,  p.  148.  t Manu,  vii.  41. 

J M.  Bh.  xii.  V.  2221,  et  seq. 

§ 3'^qfr-  M.  Bh.  xii.  v.  2247.  Ksliatra 

really  means  “ power” ; and  Kshatriya,  “ a possessor  of  power.”  See 
before  p.  108. 


266 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Yudbishthira  on  the  subject  of  Caste,  in  Tvhicb  the 
exaltation  of  the  Brahman,  his  four  ashramas,  and  his 
six  works,  are  specified  in  tlie  usual  form ; while  it  is  said 
that  the  Kshatriyas  are  to  exercise  their  power  in  subor- 
dination to  and  witli  the  advice  of  the  Brahmans. 

In  connexion  with  the  matters  now  referred  to,  some 
light  is  cast  by  the  following  passage  (translated  by  Mr. 
Muir)  on  the  accommodations  made  by  the  Aryas  with 
the  Dasyus,  when  they  were  able  to  proselytize  them. 
Blu.dima  repeats  in  it  in  a conversation  alleged  to  have 
taken  place  between  king  Mandhata  and  Indra: — 

“ The  Tavanas,  Kiratas,  Gandhdras,  Chinas,  Shai'aras,  Varvaras, 
Shakas,  Tusharas,  Kankas,  Pahlavas,  Andhras,  Madras,  Paundras, 
Puliudas,  Raraathas,  Kambojas,  men  sprung  from  Brahmans  and 
from  Kshatriyas,  persons  of  the  Vaishya  and  Shiidra  castes — ‘how  shall 
these  people  of  dilferent  countries  practise  duty,  and  what  rules  shall 
kings  like  me  prescx'ibe  for  those  who  are  living  as  Dasyus  ? Instruct 
me  on  these  points,  for  thou  [Indra]  art  the  friend  of  our  Kshatriya 
race.’  Indra  answers  : All  the  Dasjnis  should  obey  their  parents,  their 
spiritual  directors,  and  anchorites,  and  kings.  It  is  also  their  duty 
to  perform  the  ceremonies  ordained  in  the  Vedas.  They  should  sacri- 
fice to  the  Pitris,  construct  wells,  buildings  for  the  distribution  of 
water,  and  resting  places  for  travellers,  and  should  on  proper  occasions 
bestow  gifts  on  the  Brahmans.  They  should  practise  innocence, 
veracity,  meekness,  purity,  and  inofiensiveness  ; should  maintain  their 
wives  and  families  ; and  make  a just  division  of  property.  Gifts 
should  be  distributed  at  all  sacrifices  by  those  who  desire  to  prosper. 
All  the  Dasyus  should  offer  costly  pdka  oblations.  Such  duties  as 
these,  which  have  been  ordained  of  old,  ought  to  be  observed  by  all 
people.  Mandhatri  observes  : In  this  world  of  men,  Dasyus  are  to 
be  seen  in  all  castes,  living,  under  another  garb,  even  among  men 
of  the  four  orders  (dsh’amas).  Indra  replies  : ‘ When  criminal  justice 
has  perished,  and  the  duties  of  Government  are  disregarded,  mankind 
become  bewildered  through  the  wickedness  of  their  kings.  When 
this  Krita  age  has  come  to  a close,  innumerable  mendicants  and 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS-TIIE  MAHABIIIrATA.  267 


hypocrites  shall  arise,  and  the  four  orders  become  disorganized.  Dis- 
regarding the  excellent  paths  of  ancient  duty,  and  impelled  by  passion 
and  by  anger,  men  shall  fall  into  wickedness.”* 

Tliougli  this  is  certainly  not  one  of  the  etu*lier  portions 
of  the  INIahabharata,  it  is  possessed  of  importance,  as 
illustrating  the  method  of  bringing  foreign  tribes  within 
the  pale  of  Brahmanism.  The  prophecy  with  which  it 
concludes  shows  that  it  w'as  written  when  the  glory  of  that 
system  of  social  life  and  religion  was,  in  the  Indian  point  of 
view,  beginning  to  pass  away.  Curious  matter  is  added  to 
it  respecting  the  evils  which  occur  when  Kshatriyas  fail  to 
discharge  their  duty  of  protection. f In  the  context,  the 
orthodox  view  of  the  origin  of  the  four  primitive  castes  is  put 
into  the  mouth  of  the  god  Vayu,  who  concludes  by  saying  to 
Bhishma,  “ The  Brahman  was  born  immediately  after  the 
earth,  the  Lord  of  all  creatures,  to  protect  the  treasury  of  re- 
ligion. Therefore  [the  creator]  constituted  the  Kshatriya 
the  controller  of  the  earth,  a second  Yama  to  bear  the  rod, 
for  the  satisfaction  of  the  people.  And  it  was  Brahma’s  ordi- 

nance that  the  Vai.shya  should  sustain  these  thi’ee  castes  with 
money  and  corn  ; and  that  the  Shudra  should  serve  them. 
The  son  of  Ila  [Pururavas]  then  enquires:  tell  me,  Vayu, 
whose  should  the  earth,  with  its  wealth,  lightfully  be,  the 
Brahman’s  or  the  Kshatriya’s?  Vayu  replies,  “ Whatever 
exists  in  the  world  belongs  to  the  Brahmans  in  right  of  pri- 
mogenitiu-e  and  headship.”;j:  Exhortations  exhorting  Brah- 
mans and  Kshatriyas  to  agree  (with  this  recognition)  follow. 

* Muir’s  Texts,  i.  p.  180.  BI.  Bh.  xii.  t.  2429. 

I M.  Bli.  xii.  V.  254.0,  et  seq. 

i M.  Bh.  xii.  V.  2749,  et  seq.  Muir’s  Texts,  pp.  33-4- 

§ !M.  Bh.  xii.  V.  2803,  2936,  etc. 


268 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


A detailed  account  is  given  of  an  alleged  conversation 
between  Mshvainitra  and  a Cliandala  about  a proposal  made 
bv  the  sage  to  eat  a dog’s  thigli  in  a season  of  famine.  It 
was  when  this  savoury  dish  was  cooked  and  ready,  that 
^Ashvamitra  by  a heavy  fall  of  rain . was  prevented  from 
carrying  his  fully  formed  pm'pose  into  effect.  The  Chan- 
dala  is  represented  as  standing  out  against  the  use  of  the 
extraordinai-y  meal.*  Manu  alludes  to  the  legeiid'l'  as  an 
illustration  of  what  may  be  lawfully  done  for  the  sustenation 
of  life  in  times  of  difficulty.  J A Brahman  (Gautama)  is 
represented  as  having  assimilated  himself  to  the  Mlechchas 
(alias  Dasyus,  according  to  the  notice),  while  dwelling 
amono^  them  on  a begging  excursion.  He  was  recalled  to 
duty,  however,  by  another  Brahman  visitor.*^ 

The  following  passage,  wliich  I give  as  translated  by 
Mr.  JMuir,  contains  a statement  of  the  origm  of  Caste 
different  from  all  which  we  have  yet  noticed;  while  at 
the  same  time,  it  is  more  moderate  than  many  of  the  Brah- 
mannical  teachings  which  have  passed  before  oiu’  view. 

“ Brigu  speaks  : Brahma  thus  formerly  created  the  Prajapatis  (Br^- 
manas)  distinguished  by  his  own  energy,  and  in  splendour  eqiralling 
the  sun  and  fire.  The  loi'd  then  formed  tmth,  righteousness,  devo- 
tion, eternal  Vedas,  virtuous  practice,  and  purity  for  [the  attainment 
of]  heaven.  He  also  formed  the  Devas,  Danavas,  Gandharvas,  Daityas, 
Asiiras,  Mahoragas,  Yakshas,  Rakshasas,  Nagas,  Pishachas,  and  men. 
Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shiidras,  and  other  tribes  [or 
castes]  of  living  creatures.  The  colour  \yama,  meaning  primarily 
colour  and  afterwards  caste]  of  the  Brahmans  was  white  ; that  of  the 
Kshatriyas  red ; that  of  the  Vaishyas  yellow  ; and  that  of  the  Shiidras 
black. 


* M.  Bh.  xii.  V.  5330-5420. 
i lilanu  X.  108. 


t Manu  X.  108. 

§ M.  Bh.  -\ii.  V-  6295,  et  seip 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABIIARATA. 


2(il) 


“ Bhilradwiija  here  rejoins  : if  the  cast  (rnj’nct)  of  the  four  castes 
is  distinguished  by  their  colour  \_carna\,  then  Ave  perceive  in  all  the 
castes  a confusion  of  caste  [or  colour].  Desire,  anger,  fear,  cupidity, 
grief,  anxiet}',  hunger,  fatigue,  prevail  over  all  ; [‘  sarvesham  na 
prabhavati the  reading  of  the  Calcutta  edition  can  scarcely  be  correct;] 
by  what,  then,  is  caste  distinguished  ? [They  have  in  common  all] 
the  bodily  secretions,  Avith  phlegm,  bile,  and  blood  ; and  the  bodies 
of  them  all  decay  : by  Avhat  then  is  caste  distinguished  ? There  are 
innumerable  kinds  of  things  moving  and  stationary  : hmv  is  the  class 
[or  caste]  of  all  these  different  classes  of  creatures  determined  ? 

“ Bhrigu  replies  : there  is  no  distinction  of  castes  ; this  Avhole  Avorld 
is  from  [or  is  formed  of]  Brahma  ; for  having  been  formerly  created 
by  him,  it  became  separated  into  castes  in  consequence  of  Avorks. 
Those  red-limbed  Brahmans  [tAvice  born]  who  Avere  fond  of  sensual 
pleasure,  fiery,  irascible,  prone  to  daring,  and  Avho  had  forsaken  their 
duties,  fell  into  the  condition  of  Ksh^triyas.  The  yelloAv  Brahmans 
AV’ho  derived  tlieir  livelihood  from  cows,  and  agriculture,  and  did  not 
practise  their  duties,  fell  into  the  state  of  Vaishyas.  The  Brahmans 
who  Avere  black,  and  had  lost  their  purity,  Avho  were  addicted  to 
violence  and  lying,  Avho  Avere  covetous  and  subsisted  by  all  kinds  of 
Avork,  fell  into  the  position  of  Shudras.  Being  thus  separated  by  these 
their  Avorks,  the  Brahmans  became  of  other  castes.  Religious  cere- 
monies and  sacrifice  have  not  been  ahvays  forbidden  to  [all]  these. 
Thus  these  four  castes,  Avhose  speech  [SarasAvati]  is  from  Brahma  [or 
Brahmanical  ?]*,  Avere  formerly  instituted  by  Brahma  ; but  by  their 
cupidity  fell  into  ignorance.  Brahmans  ai’e  dependent  on  the  Vedas 
[brahma]  ; their  deAmtion  does  not  perish,  Avhile  they  constantly  main- 
tain the  Veda,  its  observances  and  rules.  The  Veda  [brahma]  Avas 
created  the  chief  of  all  things  : they  Avho  do  not  knoAV  it  are  not  Brah- 
mans. Of  these  [of  those  Avho  are  not  Brahmans  ?]  there  are  many 
other  classes  of  different  sorts  in  different  places,  Pishachas,  Rakshasas, 
Pretas,  various  classes  of  Mlechhas,  Avho  have  lost  all  knoAvledge, 
sacred  and  profane,  and  folloAv  Avhatever  observances  they  please. 
Other  creatures  with  the  initiation  of  Brahmans,  Avho  have  ascertained 

* See  ludische  Stuclien,  a'oI.  ii.  194  note,  where  Dr.  Weber  regards  this  passage 
as  intimating  that  at  an  earlj'  period  of  Tmliaii  history  the  Shfidi-as  spoke  the 
s.ame  language  ns  the  other  castes. 


270 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


their  proper  duties,  are  created  by  other  Rishis  through  their  own 
devotion.  This  creation,  proceeding  from  the  primeval  god,  having 
its  root  in  Brahma,  and  unperishable,  is  called  the  mental  creation, 
devoted  to  duty. 

“ Bharadwiija  .now  enquires:  what  constitutes  a Brahman,  a 
Kshatriya,  a Vaishya,  or  a Shudra  ? tell  me,  O most  eloquent  of 
Brahmanical  sages. 

Brigu  replies  : he  who  is  pure,  consecrated  by  the  natal  and  other 
initiatory  ceremonies,  who  duly  studies  the  Veda,  practises  the  six 
kinds  of  works,  and  the  rites  of  purification,  who  eats  of  offerings,  is 
attached  to  his  religious  teacher,  is  constant  in  austerities,  and  is 
devoted  to  truth,  is  called  a Brahman.  lie  in  whom  are  seen  truth, 
liberality,  inoffensiveness,  innocence,  modesty,  compassion,  and  devo- 
tion— is  declared  to  be  a Brahman.  He  who  pursues  the  duties  derived 
from  the  function  of  protection  (KsJiatti-a),  who  studies  the  Veda,  and 
is  addicted  to  giving  and  receiving, — is  called  a K.shatriya.  He  who 
quickly  enters  among  (?)  cattle,  (this  seems  to  be  a play  upon  words, 
to  connect  the  word  with  the  root  vish,  to  enter,)  is  addicted  to 

agriculture,  and  acquisition,  who  is  pure,  and  studies  the  Vedas, — is 
called  a Vaishya.  He  who  is  unclean  is  addicted  constantly  to  all 
kinds  of.  food,  performs  all  kinds  of  works,  has  abandoned  the  Veda, 
and  is  destitute  of  pure  observances, — is  called  a Shudra.  And  this 
is  the  mark  of  a Shudra,  and  it  is  not  found  in  a twice-born  man  : the 
Shudra  will  be  a Shudra,  but  the  Brahman  not  a Brahman.”* 

The  three  Varnas,  according-  to  Parasliara,  are  required 
to  observe  their  respective  Tvorks,  as  often  enjoined.  A 
Shudra,  however,  may  practise  merchandise,  the  keeping  of 
cattle,  masonry,  playing,  acting,  the  selling  of  spirits  and 
flesh,  the  selling  of  iron  and  leather.  What  is  not  agreeable 
to  usage  is  not  to  he  done.'f'  It  is  evident  from  this  that 
the  Shudi-as  by  this  time  were  not  all  in  a state  of  slavery. 

( 1 3.)  In  the  Anushdsana  Parva,  there  are  many  notices 
of  Caste  as  well  as  in  the  Shanti  Parva,  now  refeiTed  to. 

* Muir’s  Texts  i.  38-40.  M.  Bla.  xii.  v.  6930,  et  seq. 

t Bh.  xii.  V.  10794,  et  scq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABHARATA.  271 


The  Brahman  (theoretically  viewed)  is  said  to  he  free 
of  anger.* * * § 

Tlie  question,  How  did  Vishvamitra  become  a Bralimaii 
(without  transmigrating  into  another  body)  is  again  put 
and  answered.  References  are  made  to  his  reported  auster- 
ities and  exploits,  and  it  is  said  that  Richilia,  the  father  of 
Shunahsheplia,  “ infused  into  him  the  Brahmaiihood.”t 

A Brahman  though  only  ten  years  of  age  is  fitted,  it  is 
said,  to  be  a guru  of  a Kshatriya  a hundred  years  old. 
The  Brahman  is  the  father ; the  Kshatnya  the  son.  It  is 
in  lack  of  a Brahman  that  a Kshatriva  has  sovereio-ntv  in 

* O V 

the  earth.  J 

The  Chandala,  according  to  the  fictional  system,  is  said 
to  derive  his  birth  from  a Brahman  mother  and  a barber 
father.  § 

The  entertainers  of  Cows  and  Brahmans  and  the  follow- 
ers of  truth  need  fear  no  evil.||  Tlie  females  of  the  bovine 
race  and  the  chief  of  the  twice-’horii  are  often  mentioned 
together  throughout  tlie  Mahabharata  as  objects  of  religi- 
ous veneration  and  attention. 

The  law  of  inheritance  as  affecting  the  offspring  of 
Brahmans  by  wives  of  different  classes  is  thus  in  substance 
stated:  The  property  of  a Brahman  being  divided  into 

ten  parts,  four  of  these  fall  to  the  offspring  by  a female 


* M.  Bh.  xiii.  26. 

f M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  260.  See  on  the  legends  here  recited,  Muir’s 
Texts,  i.  111-112. 

J M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  394-5.  More  occurs  in  the  context  about  the 
pre-eminence  of  the  Brahman. 

§ M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  1882. 


II  M.Bh.xiii.  2035. 


272 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Brahman  ; three,  to  that  by  a female  Kshatriya  ; two,  to 
that  by  a female  Vaishya;  and  one  to  that  by  a Shudra.* 

The  origin  of  the  Parashava,  Ugra,  Suta,  Vaidehaka, 
Mandgalya,  Bandi,  Magadha,  Nishada,  AyogaA'a,  Taksha, 
Sairandhra,  Madhnka,  Madgura,  Sln^aj)aka,  Sangandha, 
Madranabha,  Pnkkasa,  Kshndra,  Andhra,  Karavara,  Pan- 
dusaupaka,  A'hindaka,  and  of  some  other  Castes  is  given 
in  the  fictional  form  found  in  Mann  and  in  the  table  which 
we  have  already  inserted,  f 

The  story  of  Parashnrama  and  Vishvamitra  is  again 
repeated  AAntli  variations.  Mr.  Muir,  aaIio  gives  it  at 
length,  asks,  “ Is  the  legend  intended  to  account  for  a 
real  fact?  Was  Parashiu’ama  of  a sacerdotal  tribe,  and 
yet  by  profession  a warrior,  just  as  Vishvamitra  Avas  con- 
versely of  royal  extraction,  and  yet  a priest  by  profession.”]; 

The  rules  to  be  observed  in  the  giving  of  gifts  and 
practising  liberality  (ckmdharma)  are  laid  down  AA’ith  par- 
ticularity. The  fruit  of  the  gift  of  a coav  by  a Brahman 
distinguished  for  truth  and  duty  is  equal  to  that  of  a 
thousand  (in  ordinary  circumstances).  The  fruit  of  a simi- 
lar gift  by  a Kshatriya  of  this  character  is  equal  to  that 
enjoyed  by  a Brahman.  That  ofa  Vaishya  is  that  of  five 
hunch’ed  ; and  of  a Shudra,  of  the  fourth  (of  the  Brahman’s 
merit,  or  tAvo  hundred  and  fifty). § A long  conversation  on 
the  merit  of  the  gift  of  cows  conducted  betAveeii  Saudasa 

* M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  2ol0,  et  seq. 

f M.  Bh.  xiii.  25G5,  et.  seq.  See  before,  pp.  55-59  ; 65-70. 

X Muir’s  Texts  i.  169-171.  M.  Bh.  xiii.  2718,  et.  seq. 

§ M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  3575-79.  See  the  ceutext  for  the  institiitcs 
about  Ddnadharma. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIAJ3HARATA. 


278 


and  Vasislitlia,  follows.*  The  teaching's  of  Vasishtha  are 
in  rejilj  to  the  question,  “ What,  O sinless  Lord,  is  declared 
to  he  the  purest  thing  in  the  three  worlds,  hy  constantly 
observing-  which  a man  may  acquire  the  highest  merit 
(pur)]/(nnutlama7/i)"?  They  specify,  amongst  other  things, 
the  heavens  (lokas)  into  which  the  givers  of  cows,  of  parti- 
cular colours  and  trappings  and  conditions  as  to  calves 
and  milk,  enter  after  death.  They  called  forth,  according 
to  the  legend,  great  liberality  from  Sauddsa,  who  in  conse- 
quence attained  to  the  “ heavens,” — a plurality  of  these 
“ heavens”  being  intimated  without  that  individual  specifi- 
cation which,  with  reference  to  his  personal  identity,  it 
miffht  have  been  difficult  to  indicate.  I once  ventimed  to 
propose  tbis  question  to  a Brahman  casuist : “ Into  what 

heaven  or  heavens  does  the  giver  of  cows  of  different 
characters,  each  meriting  a particular  heaven,  actually 
enter”?  He  seemed  unwilling  to  give  any  answer..  I 
expected  him  to  have  said,  “ He  will  get  a choice.” 

Another  story  about  Parashurama  appears  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood. It  is  thus  given  by  Mr.  Muir: — 

“ It  begins  as  follows  : ‘ Rama,  son  of  Jamadagni,  having  thrice 

seven  times  cleared  the  world  of  Kshatriyas,  and  conquered  the  whole 
earth,  performed  the  horse-sacrifice,  venerated  by  Bi'Ahmans  and 
Kshatriyas,  which  confers  all  ol>jects  of  desire,  which  cleanses  all  crea- 
tures, augments  power  and  lustre;  and  became  thereby  sinless  and 
glorious.  He  did  not,  however,  feel  relieved  in  his  mind,  but  enquired 
of  the  Rishis  skilled  in  the  scriptures,  and  the  gods,  what  was  that 
which  most  perfectly  cleansed  a man  who  had  committed  deeds  of 
violence;  for  he  felt  compunction  for  what  he  had  done.  The  Rishis 
skilled  in  the  Vedas  and  Shastras  replied,  let  the  Brahmans  be  the 
objects  of  your  liberality,  as  the  authority  of  the  Vedas  requires  ; 
and  let  the  Brahman  Rishis  be  further  consulted  in  regard  to  the 

M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  3735 — 3801. 


35 


274 


WIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


means  of  lustration.’  Pai-asliurama  accordingly  consulted  Vasishtlia, 
Agastya,  and  Kasliyapa.  They  replied  that  he  should  bestow  cows, 
land,  and  other  property,  and  especially  gold,  the  purifying  power  of 
which  was  very  great : ‘as  those  who  bestow  it,  bestow  the  gods:’ — a 
proposition  Avhich  is  thus  compendiously  proved  : ‘ for  Agni  compre- 
hends all  the  gods;  and  gold  is  of  the  essence  of  Agni.’  In  regard  to 
the  origin  of  this  precious  metal,  Vasishtha  tells  a very  long  story, 
how  it  was  born  by  the  goddess  Gangi  to  Agni,  by  whom  she  had  been 
impregnated,  and  was  the  son  of  that  god.  ‘ Thus  Avas  gold  born  the 

offspring  of  Jatavedas  (Agni),  the  chief  of  gems  and  of  oina- 

ments,  the  most  pure  of  all  pure  things,  the  most  auspicious  of  all 
auspicious  objects  ; and  one  Avith  the  divine  Agni,  the  lord  Prajdpati. 
It  must  be  highly  consolatory  for  those  Avho  are  disposed  to  be  liberal 
to  the  Brahmans,  to  be  assured  that  the  gift  of  gold  has  such  a high 
mystical,  as  Avell  as  »>,ui-rent  exchangeable,  value.  ‘ Parashurama,’ 
the  story  concludes,  ‘ after  being  thus  addressed  by  Yasishtha,  gave 
gold  to  the  Brahmans,  and  Avas  freed  from  sin.’  ”* 

A dirty  story  is  told  about  the  birth  of  the  great  Brah- 
man Bhrigu,  of  whose  origin  various  accounts  are  given  in 
the  Hindu  writings. f 

Aijuna  is  represented  as  disputing  the  power  and  au- 
tliority  of  the  Brahmans,  and  as  boasting  of  Ins  own 
prowess  as  a Kshatriya.  The  god  Vayu  is  then  bronght 
in  repeating  various  stories,  to  rebuke  his  presumption, 
and  establisli  tlie  priestly  pre-eminence.  When  the  earth, 
offended  by  king  Anga  who  wislied  to  present  it  to  the 
Brahmans  as  a sacrificial  fee,  was  about  to  depart  in  a 
pet  to  the  Avorld  of  Brahma,  the  sage  Kasliyapa  (a  Brah- 
man) entered  into  her,  and  she  became  repleni.shed  with 
grass  and  plants,  and  then  did  obeisance  to  Kasliyapa,  and 
became  his  daughter.  Angiras  made  a potation  of  the 
waters,  and  then  filled  the  whole  earth  with  a great  flood. 

* Muir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  162-63.  M.  Bh.  xiii.  v.  3960,  et  seq.. 

j-  See  Muir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  152-53. 


CASTE  ITJ  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABHa'rATA.  275 


Gautama  cursed  Puraridara  (the  god  Tndra)  for  an  evil- 
affection  for  his  wife  Ahalya,  and  yet  escaped  injury  by 
his  daring.  The  Brahmans  made  the  ocean  salt  by 
their  curse.  Aurva  alone  destroyed  the  great  Kshatriya 
family  of  the  Talajanghas.  Agni  himself  is  a BrMiman, 
receiving  the  offerings  of  the  whole  world.  Utathya 
called  the  god  V^aruna  a “robber,”  for  carrying  off  his 
wife ; and  in  his  rage  compelled  restitution  by  drinking 
up  all  the  sea,  of  which  Varuna  (in  his  modern  aspects) 
is  supposed  to  be  the  guardian.  Agastya  protected  the 
gods  from  the  enraged  Asuras  and  Danavas,  when  they 
appealed  to  him  for  protection  ; and  expelling  the  Dana- 
vas from  heaven  made  them  fly  to  the  south.  Vasishtha, 
on  another  occasion,  also  protected  the  gods,  including 
Indra,  from  the  Danavas,  all  of  whom  he  burnt  up. 
Atri,  too,  protected  the  gods  from  their  enemies.  Cha- 
jmvana,  the  powerful,  forced  Indra  to  drink  the  Soma  with 
the  Ashvins,  frightening  him  by  a fearful  monster,  named 
Mada,  which  he  created  for  the  occasion.  When 
Indra  and  the  gods  had  fallen  into  the  mouth  of  this 
Mada,  and  thus  lost  heaven ; and  when  the  demon  Kapas 
had  deprived  them  of  the  eartli,  they  betook  themselves, 
on  the  advice  of  Brahma,  to  the  Brahmans,  who  hurled 
forth  their  fires  and  destroyed  Kapas.  Given  the  truth 
of  all  these  stories,  we  need  not  wonder  at  Arjuna  saying, 
“ I live  altogether  and  always  for  the  Brahmans : I am 

devoted  to  the  Brahmans,  and  do  obeisance  to  them  conti- 
nually.”* How  suitable  to  the  omnipotent  sons  of  Brah- 

* M.  Bh.  xiii.  7187-7353.  See  Miiii’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  163-169. 
These  stories  of  the  Maliabharata  are  similar  to  those  to  which  we 
have  referred  at  pp.  23-25  of  this  work. 


276 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ma  would  have  been  the  counsel  of  the  poet  Gowper : — 

Beware  of  too  sublime  a sense 
Of  your  own  worth  and  consequence. 

The  man  who  dreams  himself  so  great, 

And  his  importance  of  such  weight, 

That  all  around  in  all  that’s  done 
Must  move  and  act  for  Him  alone, 

Will  learn  in  .school  of  tribulation 
The  folly  of  his  expectation. 

(14.)  In  the  AshvamMha,  or  Horse-Sacrifice  Parva, 
we  have  some  valuable  geographical  information  given  in 
connexion  with  the  wandering  of  the  horse  previous  to  its 
being  presented  to  the  god  Indra;  butits  indications  we  have 
already  noticed  on  the  authority  of  Professor  Lassen.* 

In  the  latter  Parvas  we  have  not  found  any  informa- 
tion respecting  Caste  worthy  of  abstracting,  though  their 
tone  is  altogether  consistent  with  its  spirit. f 

Having  given,  as  we  have  passed  along,  most  of  the 
legends  respecting  Parashurama  and  the  destruction  of 
the  Kshatri3’as,  we  may  turn  back  to  a notice  of  a renewed 
race  of  Kshatriyas,  said  to  have  been  produced  by  the 
intercourse  of  Brahmans  with  Kshatriya  women.  At 
this  time,  it  is  added,  the  Brahmanical  faith  was  well 
observed,  the  Brahmans  being  well  instructed  in  the 
Aedas,  their  Angas,  and  the  Upani.?hads  j the  Kshatriyas 
being  liberal  in  tlieir  Dakshina  to  Brahmans ; the  Vaishyas 
cultivating  their  fields  without*  cows  (i.  e.,  onh'  bj'  bul- 
locks ;)  the  Shudras  not  presuming  to  pronounce  the 
Tedas;  and  all  the  Castes  (Vanias)  following  their  dis- 

* See  before,  pp.  245,  et  seq. 

For  a reference  to  Gokarna,  Prabliasa,  and  Dvaravati,  etc.,  see  M. 
Bh.  xiv.  V.  2477,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IN  THE  EPICS— THE  MAIIABIIARATA.  277 


tinctive  works.*  The  general  doctrine  of  orthodox 
Hindus  is  tliat  the  Kshatriyas  as  a body  have  disappear- 
ed. The  probable  reason  of  this  allegation,  as  we  have 
already  hinted,  was  the  countenance  given  by  the  Ksha- 
triyas to  the  Buddhist  heresy.  The  spread  of  this  heresy 
gave  an  importance  and  expansion  among  the  Brahmans 
to  the  legends  about  Parashurama  which  they  did  not 
originally  possess  ; and  that  very  much  to  the  annoyance 
of  the  professing  Kshatriyas  of  the  present  day,  who  are 
very  unwilling  to  have  their  desired  position  in  the 
Indian  community  in  any  way  questioned. 

In  no  work  of  tlie  classical  literature  of  the  Hindus 
has  so  much  been  done,  by  interpolations  and  apocryphal 
additaments,  to  uphold  Caste  as  in  the  Mahabharata. 
That  large  work,  with  its  numerous  didactic  episodes 
and  interludes,  is  as  great  a strong-hold  of  Caste  as  any 
of  the  Indian  law-books,  to  whicli,  from  its  references  to 
them,  it  is  obvious  that  large  portions  of  it  are  posterior. 
It  ma}'^  be  characterized  as  the  great  fountain  of  Indian 
popular  instruction.  Its  influence  exceeds  that  of  all  the 
Puranas  put  together,  though  they  themselves  to  a con- 
siderable extent  harmonize  with  it.  The  provincial 
poetry, — as  that  of  the  Marathas, — continually  draws 
from  its  almost  inexhaustible  stores.  Most  injurious  is  the 
common  idea  formed  of  it  by  the  Hindus,  that  the  bulk  of 
it  is  veritable  liistory  as  well  as  exciting  and  amusing- 
poetry.  A translation  of  the  whole  of  it  into  English  is 
certainly  a desideratum.  Notwithstanding  the  care 
bestowed  on  the  edition  of  the  text  printed  at  Calcutta,  a 
collation  of  the  older  manuscripts  is  also  a desideratum.  [' 

* M.  Bh.  i.  V.  2458,  et  seq. 

t A lithographed  edition  of  the  work  is  in  the  press  in  Bombay. 


278 


AVIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


VI J. — The  Buddhist  View  of  Caste. 

On  entering  on  tliis  subject  it  is  necessary  for  us  to 
mark  the  pre.senl  stage  of  our  chronological  advancement. 
V e view  Dr.  Max  Miiller’s  date  of  the  Sutra  peiiod, 
— from  600-200  before  Christ, — as  coiTect  enouoh  for 
general  practical  purposes.  It  is  abundantly  evident  fi’om 
the  notices  wbich  we  have  given,  from  even  the  earliest  of 
this  serie.s  of  works,  that  the  Caste  system  had  reached  its 
matiuity  when  they  were  prepared.  It  is  also  manifest 
from  the  Aranyakas  and  Upani.shads,  that  even  before  this 
time,  Indian  speculation,  in  which  it  is  admitted  on  all 
hands  Buddhism  originated,  had  made  considerable  pro- 
gress. With  Caste,  then.  Buddhism  had  to  deal.  Its 
peculiar  treatment  of  this  institution,  as  we  shall  immediate- 
ly see,  was  one  of  the  principal  causes  of  its  rapid  establish- 
ment in  India.  Buddhism  in  its  most  important  social 
aspect  was  a reaction  against  Caste,  the  tyranny  of  which 
multitudes  had  begun  to  feel  to  be  unbearable,  though 
previous  to  its  origin  they  had  considered  themseh  es  unable 
to  assail  the  religious  foundations  on  which  it  was  supposed 
to  rest.  The  Brahmans,  the  inventors  and  guardians  of 
Caste,  had  up  to  the  time  ofBuddha  been  nearly  omnipotent 
in  Indian  society. 

The  word  Buddha  is  not  a name,  but  an  appellative. 
It  means  the  “ intelligent-one,”  or  the  party  possessed  of 
intelligence  (in  the  sense  of  omniscience).  The  proper 
name  of  the  individual  on  whom  it  is  confeiTed  is  unknouii, 
as  is  the  case  with  those  of  not  a few  of  the  most  celebrated 
of  the  Hindu  religionists.  Other  common  denominations 
of  Buddha  were  Shdkya  Muni,  the  Sage  of  the  Shakya 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


279 


tribe;  Shakya  the  Shakya  Lord;  Slidkya  Sinha, 

the  Shakya  Lion  (or majestic  one);  Prabhu  Gautama, 
tlie  distingiiislied  one  of  the  Gautama  family  ; Bhagaval, 
the  y'orsliipfnl  one,  emphatically  so  called ; Siddhdria, 
the  one  Ayho  has  obtained  perfection ; and  Tathdgata,  the 
one  Ayho  has  passed  (into  total  liberation  or  extinction).* 
Buddha  (\yho  is  represented  by  his  followers  as  haying- 
a pre-existent  heayenly  state  obtained  by  his  merits  in 
former  births)  belonged  originally  to  the  Kshatriya  Caste,  of 
the  early  influence  of  which  in  Indian  speculation  we  hare 
already  seen  some  notices-t  His  father  was  Shuddhodana, 
the  king  of  Kapilayastu  or  Kapilapura,J  “ the  estate  of 
Kapila”  or  “ city  of  Kapila,”  probably  so  named  from  its 
proximity  to  what  may  haye  been  the  hermitage  of  the  Rishi 
Ka])ila,  the  reputed  founder  of  the  Sankhya  or  Numeral 
System  of  the  Indian  Schoolmen,  to  certain  of  whose  doc- 
trines some  of  those  of  Buddha  bear  a considerable  resem- 
blance. His  mother,  Maya  or  Mayadevi,  daughter  of 
king  Suprabuddha,§  is  said  to  haye  died  seyen  days  after 

Lalita  Vistara,  in  mult  loc. 

See  before,  pp.  239-240,  “ Kum^rila  [the  commentator  on  the 
Mimansa]  always  speaks  of  Buddha  as  a Kshatriya  who  tried  to  become 
a Brahman.”  Muller’s  Hist.  ofSans.  Lit.  p.  79. 

\ Lalita  Vistara,  adh.  xii.  xv.  xvi.  Life  of  Shakya  by  A.  Csoma 
Kdibsi,  in  As.  Res.  vol.  xx.  pp.  286,  et  seq. 

§ “ There  was  a consultation  again  among  the  gods  in  what  form 
Bodhisatta  should  enter  into  the  womb  or  body  of  the  woman  whom 
he  had  chosen  to  become  his  mother.  A young  elephant  with  six 
adorned  trunks,  such  as  h,as  been  judged  proper  in  Brahmanical  w-orks, 
was  preferred.  He  therefore  leaving  Tushita  [said  to  be  a heavenj  de- 
scends, and  in  the  form  of  an  elephant,  enters  by  the  right  side  or  cavity 
of  the  body  of  Mayadevi,  the  wife  of  Shuddhodana.”  “ The  child 
came  out  by  her  right  side.”  See  A.  Csoma  Kbrbsi,  ut  .sup. 


280 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Ills  birth.  He  was  reared  under  the  care  of  her  sister, 
Gautami.  His  early  days  gave  indications  of  future  promise ; 
and  many  extravagant  and  incongruous  legeuds  connected 
with  them  are  related  by  his  followers.  In  his  youth,  it  is 
said,  he  was  put  to  school  (shdldlipi,  hall-of-writing),  where 
he  trreatlv  astonished  his  master,  who  was  named  Vi.shvami- 
tra,  by  his  knowledge  of  sixty  kinds  of  writing,  terrene  and 
Celestial.*  The  party  chosen  for  him  as  a wife  was  Gopa, 
the  daughter  of  Dandapani,  like  himself  of  the  Shakya 
race,  for  she  is  often  spoken  of  as  the  Shakya  Kanya 
(daughter,  or  lady).f  Two  other  spouses  were  given  to  liiin 
according  to  the  Tibetan  accounts.  By  one  of  his  wives,  the 
name  of  whom  is  variedly  given  in  the  Buddhist  writings,;}: 
he  had  a son  named  Rahula.  IMarnage  did  not  in  his  case 
interfere  with  the  meditation  and  reflection  to  which  he  was 
early  addicted.  At  the  age  of  twenty-nine  he  renounced 
the  world;  deeply  aflected  by  its  prevailing  miseiies.  He 

* At  the  time  of  Buddha’s  birth,  literal  ■writing  'ivas  probably  not 
practised  by  tlie  Indians,  though  it  -was  in  use  somewhat  before  the 
third  century  before  Christ.  See  Author’s  India  Three  Thousand 
Years  Ago,  pp.  34-3G ; and,  more  particularly.  Max  Muller’s  Hist, 
of  Anc.  S.  Lit.  pp.  497-524.  Among  the  kinds  of  writing  said  to  be 
known  to  Buddha,  were  those  of  Anja  (the  Bhagalpur  territories), 
Banga  (Bengal),  Magadha,  Dravida,  and  Kindn(ov  Kanadi,  the  Canarese 
country  ?),  the  Bakshina,  the  Ugra,  the  JDarda,  the  Kashga,  the  China, 
the  the  Uttara-Kuni,  the  Apara-Gaiida,  the  Easter n-Videha. 

Lalita-Vistara,  adh.  x.  (Cal.  ed.  pp.  143-144).  Csoma  Kbrbsi  (As. 
Res.  XX.  p.  290)  mentions  the  lipi  of  the  Tavanas,  (or  Greeks)  as  one  of 
those  known  to  Buddha;  but  that  is  not  specified  in  the  Calcutta 
edition  of  the  Lalita-Vistara. 

I Lai.  Yist.  adh.  xii. 

J Burnouf,  Lotus  de  la  Bonne  Loi,  p.  164.  Mahavanso,  p.  9.  As. 
Res.  XX.  p.  200. 


BUDDHIST  VTETP  OF  CASTE. 


281 


became  the  pupil  of  a Bralmiaii  at  Vaisluili,  and  afterwards 
of  another  famous  Brahman  at  Rajagnlia,  the  capital  of 
Magadha.  Simple  austerities,  however,  were  not  to  his 
taste.  With  five  of  liis  fellow-disciples  he  retired  into  soli- 
tude near  the  village  of  Uravelaya(  '.fterwards  Baddhagaya), 
where  for  six  years  he  resided,  maturing  his  own  peculiar 
sy.stem  of  faitli.  Varanasi,  or  Benares,  was  the  next 
place  wliich  enjoyed  the  light  of  his  presence.  He  was 
afterwards  invited  by  king  Bimbisara  to  Rajagriha,  at 
which  place  and  in  its  neighbourhood  he  is  said  to  have 
discoursed  to  his  disciples,  teaching  them  the  misery  of 
birth  and  the  desirableness  of  its  termination.  It  was  per- 
haps the  favour  extended  to  him  by  Bimbisara  which  led  to 
the  murder  of  that  king,  by  his  son  Ajatashatru.  From  Ra- 
jagrihahe  went  to  Shiavasti,the  capit.dof  Koshala,  where  he 
lived  and  lectured  in  a distinctive  building  erected  for  him 
and  his  disciples  by  an  opulent  merchant  named  Anatha- 
pindada,  and  where  he  succeeded  in  the  conversion  to  his 
faith  of  Prasenajita,  the  king  of  that  locality.  After  twelve 
years’  absence  he  visited  his  native  place,  on  which  occasion 
his  own  tribe  professed  their  adherence  to  his  doctrines. 
His  own  wife  and  aunt  (his  foster-mother)  are  said  to 
have  been  the  first  of  his  female  disciples  and  devotees. 
He  afterwards  revisited  Rajagriha,  where  he  could  ulti- 
mately claim  Ajata.shatru  as  a disciple.  He  also  revisited 
Yai.shali ; and  at  about  the  age  of  seventy-five  he  died 
in  a forest  near  Kushinagara,  to  which  city  he  had  been 
bending  his  footsteps.  His  death  occurred  according  to 
Professor  Lassen  in  the  year  54.3,  and  according  to  Dr. 
Max  Muller,  in  the  year  477,  before  Christ.*'^ 

^ For  a review  of  the  question  of  the  date  of  Buddha’s  death,  see 
Muller’s  Hist,  of  S.  Lit.  pp.  260,  et  seq.  (which  contains  the  references 

.S6 


282 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  doctrines  of  Buddha^  metaphysically  viewed,  were  of 
an  atheistic  character,  as,  like  Kapila,  his  predecessor,  he 
denied  that  there  is  any  proof  of  the  existence  of  a creative 
and  superintending  providence,  and  resolved  all  the 
objects,  combinations,  organizations,  and  phenomena, 
which  indicate  divine  volition,  design,  creation,  adapta- 
tion, and  guidance,  into  mere  nature,  proximity^  deve- 
lopment, and  growth.*  He  was  an  indevout  specu- 
latist;  but  as  an  instructor  he  was  aided  by  concurrent 
circumstances,  and  produced  a greater  effect  on  the 
mind  and  practice  of  India,  and  through  his  disciples 
on  the  adjoining  countries,  than  any  other  of  India's 
sons.  This  effect  was  not  so  much  the  result  of  his 
negative  spiritual  and  metaphysical  teaching, — denying 
the  existence  of  Deity,  and  holding  out  as  the  summurn 
bonum  after  death,  nirvdna. — the  extinction  of  being,  or 
as  some  writers  are  inclined  to  believe,  the  extinction  of 
conscious  being,  at  death, f — but  of  his  moral  and 

to  Lassen)  and  Groldstiicker’s  Manava  Kalpa  Siitra,  Introduction,  p. 
230-234.  Mr.  Tournour  (Maliavanso,  Introduction,  p.  xlviii.),  was 
aware  of  the  difficulty  of  fixing  the  date  of  Buddha's  death,  though  he 
decides,  as  Lassen  afterwards  did,  in  favour  of  the  Ceylon  authorities. 
[As  this  sheet  is  passing  through  the  press,  I observe  that  a paper  on 
the  date  of  the  death  of  Buddha  (Ueber  Buddha’s  Todesjahr  und  tinege 
andere  Zeitpunkte  in  der  alteren  Geschishte  Indiens)  has  just  been  pub- 
lished by  my  learned  friend,  Professor  Westergaard,  K.  D.  of  Copen- 
hagen. He  makes  that  event  to  have  occurred  between  368-370,  B.  C.] 

* For  the  principles  of  the  School  of  Kapila,  see  the  “ Sankhya 
Aphorisms  of  Kapila  (text,  translation  and  paraphrase)  by  Dr.  Ballau- 
tyne  ; and  the  Sankhya  Pravachana  Bhashya  by  Vijnana  Bhikshu 
(text),  with  a valuable  introduction  by  Dr.  Fitz-Edward  Hall. 

f Nirvana  is  a participial  noun  formed  from  vd,  (to  blow,  as  the 
Avind)  with  the  negative  affix  ni7\  It  may  mean  non-agitation,  as  ivell 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


283 


social  teachings,  which  were  superior,  in  some  respects,  to 
those  of  his  predecessors  and  contemporaries.  What  was 
liis  treatment  of  Caste  ? is  the  question  with  which  at 
present  we  have  to  do. 

For  an  answer  to  this  question  we  must  refer  to  the 
traditional  record.?  of  his  own  teachings  and  those  of  his 
early  disciples,  which,  though  full  of  exaggerations  and  in- 
ventions, yet  afford  a small  residuum  of  historical  matter  to 
the  critical  and  philosophical  reader  ; and  to  the  wondrous 
monuments  of  the  faith  which  he  established  which  are 
to  be  found  throughout  India,  especially  in  the  Western 
parts  of  the  Dakhan.  Copies  of  these  Buddhist  I'ecords, 
in  the  Sanskrit  language  and  Tibetan  translations,  were 
discovered  and  collected  by  one  of  India’s  most  accom- 
plished scholars  (both  as  a linguist  and  a naturalist)  and 
most  able  and  public-spirited  administrators,  B.  H.  Hodg- 

as  extinction  in  which  sense  (with  a good  array  of  authority)  it  is  inter- 
preted by  Burnouf,  Lassen,  etc.  The  word  in  its  technical  moaning  is 
used  by  the  Jaina  disputants  of  the  North-West  of  India  principally 
for  absolute  and  undisturbable  non-conscious-quiescence.  The  differ- 
ence between  this  idea  and  that  of  extinction  is  but  very  slight..  One 
of  the  most  interesting  groups  of  hewn-figures  at  the  Caves  of  Ajanta, 
of  gigantic  dimensions,  represents  the  death  of  Buddha.  “ The  sage  in 
the  scene  is  lying  in  a horizontal  position.  His  earthly  servants, 
standing  round  his  couch,  are  overcome  with  sorrow  and  grief,  while 
a band  of  heavenly  choristers  above  is  frantic  with  joy  at  the  supposed 
liberation  or  extinction  of  his  spirit.”  Author’s  Eemarks  on  the  Bud- 
dhist Excavations  of  Western  India  prefixed  to  Johnson’s  Photographs 
of  the  Caves  of  Karla,  p.  5.  No  symbol  of  the  departed  spirit  is  seen 
in  this  group.  Dr.  Judson  (see  his  Memoir  by  Dr.  Wayland,  ii. 
pp.  340-1)  found  nothing  in  the  Buddhism  of  Barmah  “ to  redeem  the 
system  from  the  charge  of  absolute  atheism.”  “ Dr.  Judson  also 
regarded  the  state  of  nigban  (nirvana)  as  nothing  less  than  a total 
extinction  of  soul  and  body.” 


284 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


son,  Esq.,  long  Resident  at  the  Court  of  Nepal,  who  also 
directed  attention  to  their  interesting  contents  in  a series 
of  valuable  papers  given  by  him  to  the  Asiatic  Societies 
ot  India  and  Europe.*  Copies  of  them,  too,  were,  with 
princely  liberalit}»,  presented  hy  Mr.  Hodgson  to  the 
Asiatic  Societies  of  Bengal,  Great  Britain,  and  France. 
Thev  bore  their  first  fruits  in  Paris,  throuMi  the  zeal  and 
perseverance  of  the  late  ingenious  and  learned  Professor 
E.  Burnouf,  who  made  them  the  foundation  of  his  “ In- 
troduction a I’Histoire  du  Buddliisme  Indien,”  which  was 
published  in  1844,  and  who  also  translated  into  French, 
one  of  the  most  important  of  them,  the  Saddhanna 
Pandarikci,  or  “ Lotus  de  la  Bonne  Loi,”  which  left  the 
press  a short  time  after  his  lamented  death.  With  the 
discover}^  of  the  Hodgson  manuscripts,  the  researches  in 
Tibet  of  Mr.  Alexander  Csoma  Kbibsi, — whose  Analysis 
of  the  Dulva  (a  portion  of  the  great  Kah-Gijur)  and 
Notices  of  the  Life  of  Shakya,  appeared  in  the  Bengal 
Asiatic  Society’s  Transactions  in  1835  ; Schmidt’s  trans- 
lation of  portions  of  the  Buddhist  canon  of  Mongolia; 
and  the  translation  and  publication  of  the  Mahavanso 
of  Ceylon,  by  the  Hon.  George  Tumour,  which  appeared 
in  183  7,  were  nearly  concurrent.  These  interesting  works 
have  been  followed  by  the  translation  from  the  Chinese 
of  the  Travels  of  the  Buddhist  Pilgrims  Fahian  and 
Hiuen-Thsang  in  the  end  of  the  fourth  and  beginning  of 
the  fifth,  and  in  the  seventh,  centuries  of  the  Christian  era, 
by  Renmsat,  Klaproth,  Landress,  and  Julien  ; by  a trans- 
lation from  the  Tibetan  of  a History  of  Buddha,  by  Foucaux  ; 

* These  pnpers,  fifteen  in  nun: her,  were  collected  by  Mr.  Hodgson, 
and  republished  by  him  at  the  Serampore  press  in  1841. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


285 


by  the  publication,  in  the  Bibliotbecalndica, of  a portion  of 
tlie  Sanskrit  Vistarn,  tlie  LegendaryLife  of  Buddha, 

edited  by  Babu  Rijendralal  Mitra;  by  the  important  works 
of  the  Rev.  Spence  Hardy  on  Eastern  Monachism,  and  his 
Manual  of  Buddhism  ; by  the  able  papers  of  the  Rev. 
D-  J.  Gogerly  of  Ceylon  ; by  the  publication  of  the  Pali 
te.xt  of  the  Dhrtmmapodam,  by  Dr.  Fausbull  of  Copen- 
hagen; by  various  papers  on  the  Buddhist  antiquities  of 
AVestern  India,  in  the  Journal  of  tlie  Bombay  Branch 
of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society  ;*  and  by  the  learned  treatises 

* “ The  following  is  a list  of  the  papers  treating  of  them  (the  Bud- 
dhist remains)  which  appear  in  our  late  proceedings,  according  to  the 
dates  which  they  bear.  On  the  Ashoka  inscriptions  at  Girnar  by 
Caprain  G.  LeG.  Jacob  and  N.  L.  Westergaard,  Esq.  Biief  account 
of  the  Minor  Buddha  Caves  of  Bedsa  and  Bhaja  near  Karla,  by  N.  L. 
"Westergaard.  ^Ir.  Prinsep’s  Correspondence  with  Dr.  Burn  on  Indian 
Antiquities.  Historical  Researches  on  the  Origin  and  Principles  of 
the  Buddha  and  Jaina  Religions,  by  James  Bird,  Esq.  Correction  of 
Errors  in  the  Lithograph  of  the  Girnar  Inscriptions  by  Capt.  LeGrand 
Jacob.  Memoir  on  the  Cave  Temples  and  Monasteries  and  other 
Ancient  Buddhist,  Brahmanical,  and  Jaina  remains  of  Western  India, 
by  Jolin  Wilson,  D.  D.  Memorandum  on  some  Buddhist  Excavations 
rear  Karhad  by  H.  B.  E.  Frere,  Esq.  Note  on  the  Rock  Inscriptions  in 
the  Island  of  Salsette  by  J.  Stevenson,  D.  D.  Second  Memoir  on  the 
Cave-Temples  and  Jlonasteries,  and  other  Ancient  Remains  of  Western 
India,  by  John  Wilson,  D,  D.  Historical  Names  and  Facts  contained 
in  the  Kanheri  Inscriptions,  by  J.  Stevenson,  D.  D.  On  the  Nasik 
Cave  Inscriptions,  by  J.  Stevenson,  D.  D.  Buddhist  Cave  Temples  in 
the  Sirkars  of  Baital-Wadi  and  Daulatabad,  by  W.  H.  Bradley,  Esq. 
Sahyadri  Inscriptions,  by  J.  Stevenson,  D.  D.  Description  the  Caves  of 
Kalvi  in  Malwa,  by  E.  Iinpey,  Esq.  Descriptive  Notices  of  Antiquities 
in  Sindh  by  II.  B.  E.  Frere,  Esq.  All  these  papeis  are  in  addition  to 
the  well-known  papers  of  Mr.  Erskine,  Colonel  Svkes,  and  Captain 
Dangerfield,  and  contain  important  information  with  statemenis  of 
opinion  and  speculation  worthy  of  respectful  attention.  Other  valuable 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


•28  (i 

of  Koppon  and  St.  Hilaire.  Ample  material  has  thus 
been  provided  for  a correct  estimate  of  Buddhism  in  its 
general  character  and  relationships,  though  otlier  con- 
tributions to  its  elucidation  will  still  be  welcomed  by  the 
public.*  There  can  now  be  but  little  doubt  of  the  view 
which  Buddha  took  of  Indian  Caste. 

papers  on  the  matters  to  which  I now  refer,  especially  by  Dr.  Stevenson 
and  the  Messrs.  West,  have  been  laid  before  the  Societ}'.” — Author’s 
Eeview  of  the  Present  State  of  Oriental,  Antiquarian,  and  Geographical 
Research  connected  with  the  West  of  India  in  Journ.  B.  B.  R.  A.  S. 
1856.  Since  this  article  appeared,  the  transcript  of  the  Kanheri  In- 
scriptions by  the  Jlessrs.  West  has  been  published  in  the  Bombay 
Journal  for  1862.  Dr.  Bhau  Daji  is  reviewing  them  and  others  in  a 
series  of  ingenious  and  learned  papers.  It  is  hoped  that  by  degrees 
their  contents  will  be  fully  ascertained. 

* Of  the  Buddhist  writings  the  following  is  a correct  summary  view 
by  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson. 

“ According  to  the  Buddhists  themselves,  the  doctrines  of  Shakya 
Muni  were  not  committed  to  writing  by  him,  but  were  orally  commu- 
nicated to  his  disciples,  and  transmitted  in  like  manner  by  them  to  suc- 
ceeding generations.  When  they  were  first  written  is  not  clearly  made 
out  from  the  traditions  of  the  North  ; but  they  agree  with  those  of  the 
South  in  describing  the  occurrence  of  different  public  councils  or  con- 
vocations at  which  the  senior  Buddhist  priest  corrected  the  errors  that 
had  crept  into  the  teaching  of  heterodox  disciples  and  agreed  upon  the 
chief  points  of  discipline  and  doctrine  that  were  to  be  promulgated. 
The  first  of  these  councils  was  held,  it  is  said,  immediately  after  Shak\  a 
liinni’s  death  ; the  second  110,  and  the  third  218  years  afterwards,  or 
about  246  B.  C.  The  Northern  Buddhists  confound  apparently  the 
second  end  third  councils,  or  take  no  notice  of  the  latter  in  the  time  of 
A.shoka,  but  placed  the  third  in  Kashmir  under  the  patronage  of 
Kanishka  or  Kanerka,  one  of  the  Hindu-Sythic  Kings,  400  years 
after  Budha’s  Jsirvana  or  B.  C.  153.  Both  accounts  agree  that  the  pro- 
pagation of  Buddhism,  by  ilissions  dispatched  for  that  purpose,  took 
place  after  the  third  council. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


287 


Buddha  found  the  system  of  Indian  caste  in  existence 
and  vigorous  operation,  when  he  commenced  his  studies 
and  teachings.  In  the  oldest  works  of  his  disciples  which 
treat  ol  his  life  and  doctrines,  the  first  castes, — of  Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras, — are  frequently  men- 
tioned, and  often  in  opposition  to  the  Chandalas,  Avho  are 
introduced  as  representatives  of  the  non-Brahmanical 
classes.  The  Brahmans  are  generally  alluded  to  as  de 
facto  superior  to  the  otlier  classes  in  status,  learning, 
religious  practice,  and  austerities.  Tliey  are  recognized 
as  acquainted  with  the  four  Vedas  ; as  in  possession  of  the 
mantras,  or  holy  words  ; as  the  dispensers  and  conductors 
of  sacred  rites  to  princes  and  peoples;  as  Brahmans  hy 
birth  {Jdti-B rdhmandh ) and  Brahmans  hy  learning 
(Vhla- Brdhmanalf  ; as  resorting  to  agriculture  only  in 
times  or  circumstances  of  distress  ; as  practising  astrology 
and  soothsaying  ; and  as  receiving  gifts  of  goods,  treasure, 

“ According  to  the  traditions  which  are  current  in  the  South  as  well 
as  the  North,  the  classification  of  the  Buddhist  authorities  as  theTri- 
pithaka  (the  three  collections)  took  place  at  the  first  council,  the  por- 
tion termed  Sutra  the  doctrinal  precepts,  being  compiled  by  A'nanda  ; 
the  Vinaya,  or  discipline  of  the  priesthood,  by  Upali ; and  the  Ahhi- 
dharmaov  philosophical  portions  by  Kashyapa,  all  three  Buddha’s  disci- 
ples. Their  compilations  were  revised  at  the  second  council,  and  were 
finally  established  as  canonical  at  last.  Their  being  compiled,  however, 
does  not  necessarily  imply  their  being  written,  and  according  to  the 
Northern  Buddhists,  they  were  not  committed  to  writing  until  after  the 
convocation  in  Kashmir,  or  l-oS  B.  C. ; while  the  Southern  authorities 
state,  that  they  were  preserved  by  memory  for  450  years,  and  were 
then  first  reduced  to  writing  in  Ceylon.” — Journ.  of  R.  A.  S.  vol.  xvi. 
p.  239.  In  the  paper  from  which  this  extract  is  made,  Professor  Wil- 
son expresses  his  doubt  of  the  system  of  the  Buddhists  having  had  any 
specific  founder.  Shakya  Muni,  he  is  inclined  to  consider  only  a 
mythical  personage. 


288 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


and  land  for  their  services.  The  Kshatrijas,  with  whom, 
as  we  liave  already  seen,  Buddha  himself  was  connected, 
are  noticed  a^  a governing  class  ; and  most  of  the  more 
important  of  them  emhraced  the  system  of  faith  and  prac- 
ti  e of  which  he  was  the  parent,  and  used  their  influence 
in  hehalf  of  that  system,  even  to  the  humiliation  of  the 
Brahmans.  Other  Castes,  such  as  those  of  the  V enukaras, 
Rathakaras,  Pukkasas,  Baiharas,  Ahirs,  or  Herdsmen,  are 
viewed  in  the  writing'^,  to  whicli  we  refer,  as  inferior  both 
in  station  and  privilege  to  the  Brahmans  and  Kshatriyas. 
The  Buddhist  Sutras,  too,  recognize  the  duty,  or  custom, 
of  each  person  to  marry  in  his  own  caste,  and  to  follow 
the  profession  of  his  ancestors.  They  ascribe  baseness 
and  elevation  of  birth  to  sin  practised  or  to  merit  accumu- 
lated in  former  hii'ths,  according  to  the  prevailing  doctrine 
of.  the  metempsycliosis.  Yet,  the  Lalita  Vistara,  in  giving 
an  account  of  the  choice  of  a wife  for  Buddha  by  his 
father  Shuddhodana,  represents  the  father,  as  giving  in- 
structions that  the  wife  should  he  chosen,  according  to  her 
qualities,  from  either  a Brahman,  a Ksliatriya,  a Vaisliya, 
or  a Sliudra  family.*  d'his  work,  however,  was  probably 
composed,  only  little  more  than  a century  before  the  Chris- 
tian era. 

“ While  society  was  in  this  state,” — to  quote  from  M. 
E.  Burnouf, — “ tliere  was  horn  in  one  of  the  families  of 
the  Kshatriyas,  that  of  the  Shakyas  of  Kapilavastu,  which 
professed  to  he  descended  from  the  Solar  race  of  Kings, 
a young  prince  who  at  the  age  of  twenty-nine  renounced 
the  world,  and  became  a devotee  under  the  name  of 
Shdhja  Muni,  or  Sliraman  Gautama.  His  doctrine 


% 


Lalita  Vistara,  adh.  xii.  (p.  159,  Calc,  ed.) 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


281) 


which  according  to  the  [Buddhist]  Siitras  was  more  moral 
than  metaphysical,  at  least  in  its  principle,  rested  on  an 
opinion  admitted  as  a fact,  and  upon  a hope  presented  as 
a certainty.  The  opinion  was  that  the  visible  world  is  in 
a state  of  perpetual  change  ; that  death  succeeds  life,  and 
life  death  ; that  man,  as  well  as  all  that  siuTounds  him, 
revolves  in  an  eternal  cii'cle  of  transmigration  ; that  he 
passes  ill  succession  through  all  the  varieties  of  life  from 
the  most  elementary  to  the  most  perfect ; that  the  place 
which  he  occupies  in  the  vast  scale  of  living  beings  depends 
on  the  merit  of  the  actions  he  performs  in  the  world,  and 
that  thus  the  virtuous  man  is  to  he  reborn  after  death 
with  a divine  body  and  the  wicked  with  a degraded  body  ; 
that  the  rewards  of  heaven  and  the  punishments  of  hell 
are  only  for  a limited  period,  like  the  things  of  this  vv'oiid  ; 
that  time  exhausts  the  merit  of  virtuous  actions  as  it 
effaces  the  faults  of  the  wicked  ; and  that  the  fated  law  of 
change  extends  over  the  world,  over  tlie  gods,  and  over  the 
damned  (in  hell).  The  hope  which  Shakya  IVIuni  gave 
to  men  was  the  possibility  of  escaping  this  law  of  change, 
by  entering  into  what  is  called  nirvana,  that  is  to  say, 
annihilation.  The  positive  sign  of  this  annihilation  was 
death ; but  a prevenient  sign  announced  in  this  life  the 
man  predestined  to  this  supreme  deliverance  ; it  was  the 
possession  of  unlimited  knowledge,  which  enabled  him  to 
see  the  world  with  all  its  moral  and  physical  laws ; and 
to  sum  up  all  in  a single  word,  it  was  the  practice  of 
the  six  transcendental  perfections — almsgiving,  morality, 
knowledge,  energy,  patience,  and  charity.  The  authority 
on  which  the  devotee  of  the  race  of  Shakya  rested  his 
teaching  was  entirely  personal,  and  was  formed  of  two 

37 


290 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


elements,  the  one  real,  and  the  other  ideal.  The  fir.st  was 
the  regularity  and  sanctity  of  his  conduct,  of  which  chastity, 
patience,  and  charity  formed  the  principal  features.  The 
second  was  the  claim  he  had  to  be  a Buddha,  that  is  Enli^ht- 
ened  [rather  The-endowed-with-intelligence],  and  conse- 
quently possessed  of  superhuman  knowledge  and  power.  By 
his  power  he  WTOught  mu-acles ; by  bis  knowledge  he  called 
up  before  himself  the  past  and  the  future  in  a clear  and  com- 
plete form.  By  it  he  could  tell  what  any  man  had  done  in 
a previous  state  of  existence ; and  he  affirmed  that  an  infinite 
number  of  beings  had  like  himself  already  attained  by  the 
practice  of  the  same  virtues  to  the  dignity  of  a Buddha  before 
entering  into  a state  of  complete  annihilation.  In  fine,  he 
presented  himself  to  men  as  their  Saviour,  and  promised  that 
his  death  should  not  be  the  annihilation  of  bis  doctrine,  but 
that  that  doctrine  should  continue  for  a great  number  of  ages 
after  him,  and  that  when  its  salutary  influence  should  cease, 
a new  Buddha,  whom  he  announced  by  name,  should  come 
into  the  world,  who  before  having  to  descend  to  the  earth 
had,  according  to  the  legends,  consecrated  himself  in 
heaven  to  be  a future  Buddha.”* 

The  same  distinguished  orientalist  from  whom  we  have 
now  quoted  thus  more  particularly  notices  the  view  taken 
by  Buddha  of  Indian  society,  and  tlie  modifications  which 
he  introduced  into  it  in  connexion  with  Caste.  “ His 
avowed  aim  was  to  save  men  from  the  miserable  condi- 
tions of  existence  which  they  found  in  this  world,  and  to 
free  them  from  the  fated  law  of  transmigration.  He  ad- 

* Buniouf,  Introduct.  a ITIistoire  du  Buddhisme  Indien,  i.  pp. 
152-53.  His  references  in  proof  are  to  the  Lalita  Vistara,  fol.  25  of 
his  IMS.  and  to  the  Life  of  Shakhya  in  As,  Res.  vol.  xx.  p.  287. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


291 


mitted  that  the  practice  of  virtue  ensured  to  a good  man 
a future  sojourn  in  heaven,  and  the  enjoyment  of  a better 
existence.  But  no  one  viewed  this  as  a definitive  state  of 
well-being:  to  become  a god  was  to  be  born  again  in  order 
one  day  to  die  ; and  the  object  was  to  escape  for  ever  the 
necessity  of  being  born  again  and  dying.  The  distinction 
of  Castes  was  in  the  view  of  Shakya  an  accident  in  the  ex- 
istence of  men  here  below — an  accident  which  he  recoo-- 

o 

nized,  but  could  not  prevent.  This  is  why  the  Castes  appear 
in  all  the  Sutras  and  legends  which  1 have  read  as  an  esta- 
blished fact,  against  which  Shakya  does  not  make  a single 
political  objection.  This  was  so  much  the  case,  that  when 
a party  attached  to  the  service  of  a prince  wished  to  embrace 
the  life  of  a devotee,  Shakya  did  not  receive  him  till  the 
prince  had  given  his  consent.”  [This  is  illustrated  by  a 
legend  from  the  Avadana  Shataka].  “This  respect  of 
Shakya  for  the  royal  authority  has  left  its  traces  even  on 
modern  Buddhism;  and  it  is  one  of  the  fundamental  rules 
for  the  ordination  of  a Devotee  or  Mendicant  [/?/riA:67/?r],  that 
he  should  reply  in  the  negative  to  the  question,^  Art  thou 
in  the  service  of  the  king?*  Shakya  admitted,  then,  the 

* [One  of  the  questions  asked  (in  Pali)  at  the  candidate  for  admis- 
sion into  the  order  of  Devotee  (Bhikshu)  is  rrSfUIT — Thou  art 

not  a soldier-of-the  king  ? The  reply  is,  ^THT  >1^^^ — I am  not,  O 
venerable-ones.  See  Kammavakhya,  edited  by  Dr.  Spiegel,  p.  5. 
The  novice  is  exhorted,  according  to  this  formula  of  initiation,  to  eat 
the  food  left  by  others  except  on  particular  occasions ; to  wear  chiefly 
garments  dyed  with  clay  ; to  dwell  usually  at  the  roots  of  trees ; to 
use  cow’s  urine  as  a medicament,  and  only  occasionally  gin,  butter, 
oil,  honey,  and  sugar ; to  abstain  altogether  from  intercourse  with 
women  ; to  abstain  from  stealing,  even  that  of  a leaf ; to  abstain  from 
killing  animals,  etc.] 


292 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Ilierarchy  of  Castes  ; he  even  explained  it,  as  did  tlie 
Brahmans,  by  the  theory  of  punishments  and  rewards  ; 
and  as  often  as  lie  instructed  a man  of  low  condition,  he 
did  not  fail  to  attribute  the  baseness  of  his  birth  to  the 
sins  he  had  committed  in  a former  life.  To  convert  a 
man  of  whatever  condition,  then,  was  in  the  view  of 
iShakya  to  give  him  the  means  of  escaping  from  trans- 
migration.” “ Shakya  opened,  then,  to  all  castes  with- 
out distinction  the  way  of  salvation,  from  which  their 
birth  had  before  excluded  the  greater  number  ; and  he 
made  them  equal  among  themselves,  and  in  his  own 
estimation,  by  conferring  upon  them  investiture  with 
the  rank  of  Devotees.  In  this  last  respect  he  went  much 
further  than  the  philosophers  Kapila  and  Patanjali,  who 
had  be2;un  a work  somewhat  resemblino;  that  which  the 
Buddhists  afterwards  accomplished.  By  attacking  as 
useless  the  works  prescribed  by  the  Veda,  and  by  sub- 
stituting for  them  the  practice  of  personal  asceticism, 
Kapila  had  placed  within  the  reach  of  all,  in  principle 
at  least  if  not  in  reality,  the  title  of  Ascetic,  which  pre- 
vious to  that  time  had  been  the  distinction  and  almost 
exclusive  privilege  of  the  life  of  a Brahman.  Shakya 
did  more  than  this  : he  gave  to  isolated  philosophers  the 
organization  of  a religious  body.  We  thus  find  the  ex- 
planation of  two  facts,  the  facility  with  which  Buddhism 
must  have  been  originally  propagated,  and  the  opposition 
which  Brahmanism  naturally  made  to  its  progress.  The 
Brahmans  had  no  objections  to  make  to  Shakya  so  long 
as  he  restricted  himself  to  work  out  as  a philosopher  the 
future  deliverance  of  man,  and  to  assure  him  of  the 
liberation  which  1 have  already  characterized  as  absolute. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


293 


But  they  could  not  admit  the  possibility  of  that  actual 
deliverance,  that  relative  liberation  which  tended  to 
nothing-  short  of  the  destruction  in  a given  time,  of 
the  subordination  of  Castes  as  regarded  religion.  This 
is  how  Shakya  attacked  tlie  foundation  of  the  Indian 
system,  and  it  indicates  that  a time  could  not  fail  to 
come,  when  the  Brahmans  placed  at  the  head  of  that 
system,  would  feel  the  necessity  of  proscribing  a 
doctrine  of  which  the  consequences  could  not  escape 
them.”* 

It  is  evident  from  all  this, — which  is  perfectly  con- 
sistent with  what  is  found  in  the  oldest  Buddhist  Sutras 
and  legends, — that  Shakya  Muni  did  not  directly  oppose 
tl)e  state  of  matters  religious  and  social  which  he  found 
to  exist  in  Indian  society.  He  thought  that  he  had 
found  out  a better  and  shorter  way  to  get  rid  of  the 
evils  of  life ; and  he  brought  his  own  plan  to  notice  in 
the  most  effective  manner.  He  became  himself,  as  we 
have  seen,  an  ascetic ; and  he  strove  by  strictness  and 
purity  of  life,  more  than  by  harshness  of  discipline,  to 
become  tlie  best  of  ascetics,  and  to  elevate  himself  to  a 
moral  position,  superior  even  to  that  of  the  Ttrthyas 
or  dwellers  at  holy  places,  and  the  most  ascetic  of  the 
Brahmans.  His  tenets  and  practices  he  brought  con- 
spicuously to  notice  by  the  public  preaching  of  himself 
and  his  disciples,  avoiding  that  monopoly  of  know- 
ledge and  instruction  to  which  the  Brahmans  had  laid 
claim.  All  classes  of  society,  without  any  peculiar 
privilege  from  Caste,  were  invited  to  join  the  orders 
wliich  he  established,  with  the  full  expectation  of  receiv- 
* Burnouf,  ut  sup.  i.  pp.  2I0-2I2. 


294 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ing-  th*eir  highest  advantages.  He  disparaged  and 
eschewed,  though  he  did  not  directly  condemn,  a here- 
ditary priesthood.  He  pretended,  if  we  may  believe 
his  followers,  to  work  miracles,  and  to  be  himself  a 
miracle  of  knowledge.  He  carried  his  sympathies,  too, 
much  farther  beyond  the  human  family  than  had  been 
done  before  his  day.  He  interdicted  all  animal  sacrifice, 
and  all  slaying  of  animals  even  for  the  purpose  of  food, 
ordering;  the  rules  of  eating-  and  drinking  so  as  to 
make  them  accord  with  this  object.  Aided  by  numer- 
ous associates  and  by  some  of  the  most  powerful  of 
the  Indian  princes,  he  effected  a revolution  in  Indian 
society.  Multitudes  made  him  their  leader;  his  system 
gained  a political  importance,  particularly  through 
Ashoka  the  grandson  of  Chandragupta  (the  Sandra- 
cottus  of  the  Greeks) ; and  his  faith,  through  the  zeal 
of  his  adherents,  and  the  notice  which  its  wmndrous 
structural  buildings  and  excavations  (then  novelties  in 
India)  attracted,  became  predominant  in  India  for  ages, 
and  was  carried  to  other  lauds,  where  it  still  exists 
though  not  Avith  its  pristine  vigour.  Even  the  forest 
tribes  of  India,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  ornamental 
figures  of  the  cave-temples  and  ra onasteries  of  Western 
India,  are  represented  as  joyfully  doing  him  homage. 
Denying  the  existence  of  the  Divinity,  he  made  him- 
self, or  suffered  himself  to  be  made,  a god.  His  images, 
throuo'h  the  efforts  of  his  followers,  soon  filled  the 
temples,  the  gods  of  the  Hindu  pantheon  being  thence 
banished,  or  there  appearing  as  subordinate  to  him- 
self. His  way  became  more  glorious  than  that  of  the 
Dridimans  in  the  eyes  of  the  multitude,  the  Sfiramana 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


29') 


taking  the  precedence  of  tlie  Bruhmana.*  Though  some 
l^ralimans  became  his  willing  pupils,  the  Brahmanical 
body  soon  appeared  in  opposition  to  him.  His  followers 
in  their  turn  began  to  oppose  the  Brahmans,  and  ulti- 
mately placed  themselves  to  them  in  an  attitude  of 
unmitigated  hostility.  The  strife  continued,  even  during 
the  ages  of  Buddhist  ascendancy.  The  Brahman  power, 
as  will  be  onwards  noticed,  ultimately  proved  victorious 
within  the  bounds  of  India  proper. 

The  final  attitude  of  Buddhism  to  Caste  cannot  be 
better  illustrated  than  by  the  Buddhist  tract  attributed 
to  Ashva  Ghosha.  This  witty  production  was  discovered 
by  Mr.  Hodgson  in  NepH  in  1829.  “ A few  days  since,” 

(he  writes  in  July  1 1th,  1829),  “ my  learned  old  Bauddba 
1‘riend  brought  me  a little  tract  in  Sanskrit,  with  such  an 
evident  air  of  pride  and  pleasure,  that  I immediately 
asked  him  what  it  contained.  ‘ Oh,  my  friend,’  was  his 
reply,  ‘ 1 have  been  long  trying  to  procure  for  you  this 
work,  in  the  assurance  that  you  must  highly  approve 
the  wit  and  wisdom  contained  in  it ; and  after  many 
applications  to  the  owner,  1 have  at  length  obtained  the 
loan  of  it  for  three  or  four  days.  But  I cannot  let  you 
have  it  or  even  a copy  of  it,  such  being  the  conditions  on 
which  I procured  you  a sight  of  it.’  These  words  of  my 
old  friend  stimulated  my  curiosity,  and  with  a few  fair 
words  I engao'ed  the  old  oentleman  to  lend  me  and 
my  pandit  his  aid  in  making  a translation  of  it.”  This 

* The  designation  of  Shramana  (a  practiser  of  shrama,  toil  or 
austerity)  does  not  necessarily  mean  a Buddhist  devotee  ; but  as 
opposed  to  Brahmana,  it  has  this  meaning,  in  Avhich  it  always  occurs  in 
the  Buddhist  writings. 


296 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


translation  appeared  in  the  third  volume  of  the  Trans- 
actions of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  and  was  afterwards 
reprinted  in  Mr.  Hodgson’s  “ Illustrations  of  the  Litera- 
ture and  Religion  of  the  Buddhists.”  I have  compared 
it  throughout  with  a manuscript  of  the  original,  present- 
ed to  me  by  the  late  L.  Wilkinson,  Esq.,  a most  able  and 
zealous  member  of  the  Bombay  Civil  Service;  and 
found  it  to  be  both  sufficiently  accurate,  and  spirited.* * * §  I 
here  give  it  a place,  interpolating  a few  explanations  and 
adding  a few  notes.  The  Buddhist  author,  it  must  be 
borne  in  mind,  reasons  ex  concessu  throughout,  from  what 
he  supposes  to  he  the  Brahmanical  writings. 

Vojra  ShucJn. 

“ I,  Asliva  Gtosha  first  invoking  Manju  Ghosha,'|'  the  Guru  of  the 
world,  with  all  my  soul  and  all  my  strength,  proceed  to  compose  the 
book  called  Vajra  ShucTii'  [the  Adamentine  Needle]  in  according  with 
the  Shastras  [or  rather,  established  opinion,  Mata']." 

Allow  then  that  your  Vedas  and  Smritis,  and  works  involving  both 
Dharma  and  Artha%  are  good  and  vahd,  and  that  discourses  at  variance 
with  them  are  invalid,  still  what  you  say  that  the  Brahman  is  the 
highest  of  the  four  Castes,  cannot  be  proved  from  these  books. 

Tell  me  first  of  all  what  is  Brahmanhood  ? Is  it  life,  or  parentage,§ 
or  body,  or  wisdom,  or  the  way  [rather  practice,  achdra]  or  acts  i.  e. 
that  is  morality  {karma],  or  the  Vedas  (learning  in  the  Vedas). 

If  you  say  that  it  is  life  (jiva ),  such  an  assertion  cannot  be  recon- 
ciled with  the  Vedas  ; for  it  is  written  in  the  Vedas  that  the  sun  and 

* The.  Vajra  Shiichi  was  printed  by  Mr.  Wilkinson  in  1839,  with 
an  acute  but  sophistical  comment  on  it  by  Subaji  Bapu. 

f [Probably  a Buddhist  sage.  See  Burnouf,  Lotus  de  la  Bonne  Loi,  p.  509.] 

J [Dharma  (duty),  artha  (aim),  kdma  (desire),  and  moksha  (liberation),  are  the 
four  objects  of  human  existence,  according  to  Iliuduism.] 

§ [In  the  JIS.  sent  to  me  by  Mr.  Wilkinson  the  word  for  this  (given  onwards 
as  jdfi,  or  birth,  rather  than  parentage)  is  omitted.] 


BUDDHIST  VIEAI/  OF  CASTE. 


297 


the  moon,  and  other  deities,  were  at  first  quadrupeds  ; and  some  other 
deities  were  first  animals  and  afterwards  became  gods ; even  the 
vilest  of  the  vile  (shvapdka)  have  become  gods.*  From  these  words 
it  is  clear  that  Brahmanhood  is  not  life  {jiva),  a position  which  is 
further  proved  from  these  words  of  the  (Mahd)  Bharata  : seven  hunters 
and  ten  deer  of  the  hill  Kiilinjala,  a goose  of  the  lake  Manasa-sara, 
a Chakravaka  of  the  Sharadvipa,  all  these  wei-e  born  as  Brahmans 
in  the  KumJcshetra  (near  Delhi),  and  became  very  learned  in  the 
Vedas.  It  is  also  said  by  Manu  in  his  Dharmashastra,  “ Whatever 
Brahman  learned  in  the  four  Vedas  with-  their  Angas  and  Upangas, 
shall  take  charity  [fees  or  gifts]  from  a Shudra,  shall  for  twelve 
births  be  an  ass,  and  for  sixty  births  a hog,  and  seventy  births  a 
dog.f  From  these  words  it  is  clear  that  Brahmanhood  is  not  life  ; for 
if  it  were,  how  could  such  things  be  ? 

If,  again,  you  say  that  Brahmanhood  depends  on  parentage  or  birth 
(jati),  that  is,  that  to  be  a Brahman  one  must  be  born  of  Brahman 
parents, — this  notion  is  at  variance  with  the  known  passage  of  the 
Smriti,  that  Achala  Muni  was  born  of  an  elephant,  and  Kesha  Pingala 
of  an  owl,  and  Agasl)'a  Muni  from  the  Agasti  flower,  and  Ivausika 
Muni  from  the  Kusha  grass,  and  Kapila  from  a monkey,  and  Gautama 
Hishi  from  a creeper  that  entwined  a Sala  tree,  and  Drona  A'charya  from 
an  earthen  pot,  and  Taittiri  Rishi  from  a partridge,  and  (Parashu)  Rama 
from  dust,  and  Shringa  Rishi  from  a deer,  and  Vyasa  Muni  from  a 
fisher  woman,  and  Kaushika  Muni  from  a female  Shudra,  and  Vishvamitra 
from  a Chandalni,  and  Vasishtha  Muni  from  a strumpet.  Not  one  of 
them  had  a Brahman  mother,  and  yet  all  were  notoriously  called  Brah- 

* [The  text  of  this  passage  is  the  following  : — ' 

aiRj  HT:  TnTrwrfl  I : 'TWBTfl  1 
1 1 1 

3Tr?iT  : 'T5TT:  1 I 

— ^literally,  The  Sun  was  an  animated  being  [or  the  (great)  Soul,  according  to 
the  Vedantists]  ; the  Moon  was  an  animated  being  ; Indra  was  an  animated 
being  ; animated  beings  (were)  the  gods  ; moreover,  the  gods  were  animated 
beings  ; the  dog-eaters  were  at  first  gods.] 

f [The  taking  of  gifts  by  Brahmans  from  Shfidras  is  forbidden  in  Manu, 
but  not  in  the  terms  here  alleged.] 


38 


298 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


mans ; whence  I infer,  that  the  title  is  a distinction  of  popular  origin, 
and  cannot  be  traced  to  parentage  from  written  authorities.* 

Should  you  again  say,  that  whoever  is  born  of  a Brahman  father  or 
mother  is  a Brahman,  then  the  child  of  a slave  [Dasa]  even  may 
become  a Brahman  ; a consequence  to  which  I have  no  objection,  but 
which  will  not  consort  with  your  notions,  I fancy. 

Do  you  say  that  he  who  is  sprung  of  Brahman  parents  is  a 
Brahman  ? Still  I object  that,  since  you  must  mean  pure  and  true 
Brahmans,  in  such  case  the  breed  of  Brahmans  must  be  at  an  end  ; 
since  the  fathers  of  the  parent  race  of  Brahmans  are  not,  any  of  them, 
free  from  the  suspicion  of  having  wives,  who  notoriously  commit 
adultery  with  Shudras.  Now,  if  the  real  father  be  a Shudra,  the  son 
cannot  be  a Brahman,  notwithstanding  the  Brahmanhood  of  his 
mother.  From  all  which  I infer  that  Brahmanhood  is  not  truly 
derivable  from  birth  ; and  I draw  fresh  proofs  of  this  from  the 
Manava  Dharma,  which  affirms  that  the  Brahman  who  eats  flesh 
loses  instantly  his  rank ; and  also,  that  by  selling  wax,  or  salt,  or 
milk,  he  becomes  a Shudra  in  three  days  ; and  further,  that  even 
such  a Brahman  as  can  fly  like  a bird  directly  ceases  to  be  a Brahman 
by  meddling  with  the  fleshpots.  From  all  this  is  it  not  clear  that 
Brahmanhood  is  not  the  same  with  birth?  since,  if  that  were  the  case, 
it  could  not  be  lost  by  any  acts  however  degrading.  Knew  you  ever  of 
a flying  horse  that  by  alighting  on  earth  was  turned  into  a pig  ? — ’Tis 
impossible. 

Say  you  that  body  (sJianra)  is  the  Brahman  ? this  too  is  false  ; for,  if 
body  be  the  Brahman,  then  fire,  when  the  Brahman’s  corpse  is  consumed 
by  it,  will  be  the  murderer  of  a Brahman;  and  such  also  will  be  every 

* [When  such  absurdities  as  those  mentioned  in  this  paragraph  found  entrance 
into  the  more  modern  Indian  legendry  (in  which  they  still  occupy  a place),  it  is 
difficult  to  say.  dome  things  resembling  them  occur  in  the  Digvarga  of  the  Amara- 
kosha,  probably  of  the  first  century  of  the  Christian  era.  Agasfya,  for  example,  is 
there  called  Kumbhasambhava,  produced  from  a jar  ; A'ugiras  to  be  Chitrashi- 
1,-Aand^'o,  horn  of  a peacock;  and  Aruna  to  be  Garuddgraja,  horn  of  the  beak  of 
Garuda  or  the  eagle.  The  whole  is  equivalent  to  what  would  he  such  conceits 
as  that  Lord  Bacon  was  born  of  the  loin  of  a pig  ; that  Mr.  Partridge,  the  able 
scientific  visitor  of  Garibaldi,  was  born  of  the  game  bird  of  the  same  name  ; and 
that  the  learned  Mr.  Sheepshanks  was  born  of  the  trotter  of  a ram.] 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


209 


one  of  the  Brahman’s  relatives  who  consigned  his  body  to  the  flames. 
Nor  less  will  this  other  absurdity  follow,  that  every  one  born  of  a 
Brahman,  though  his  mother  were  a Kshatriya  or  a Vaishya,  [or  a 
Shiidra]  Avould  be  a Brahman — being  bone  of  the  bone,  and  flesh  of  the 
flesh  of,  his  father,  a monstrosity,  you  wdll  allow,  that  was  never  heard 
of.  Again,  are  not  performing  sacrifice,  and  causing  others  to  perform 
it,  reading  and  causing  to  read,  receiving  and  giving  charity,  and 
other  holy  acts,  sprung  from  the  body  of  the  Brahman  ? Is  then  the 
virtue  of  all  these  destroyed  by  the  destruction  of  the  body  of  a 
Brahman  ? Surely  not,  according  to  your  own  principles  ; and,  if  not, 
then  Brahmanhood  cannot  consist  in  body. 

Say  yoir  that  wisdom*  constitutes  the  Brahman  ? This  too  is  in- 
correct. Why  ? Because,  if  it  were  true,  many  Shudras  must  have  be- 
come Brahmans  from  the  great  wisdom  they  acquired.  I myself  know 
many  Shudras  who  are  masters  of  the  four  Vedas,  and  of  philology, 
and  of  the  Mimansd,  and  Sankhya,  and  Vaisheshika  and  Jyotishika 
philosophies ; yet  not  one  of  them  is  or  ever  was  called  a Brahman. 
It  is  clearly  proved,  then,  that  Brahmanhood  consists  not  in  wisdom  or 
learning. 

Then  do  you  affinn  that  the  A'chara  is  Brahmanhood  ? This  too  is 
false  ; for  if  it  were  true,  many  Shudras  would  become  Brahmans  ; 
since  many  Nabas  and  Bhatas,  and  Kaivartas,  and  Bhandas,  and  others, 
are  everywhere  to  be  seen  performing  the  severest  and  most  laborious 
acts  of  piety.  Yet  not  one  of  these,  who  are  all  so  pre-eminent  in  their 
A'chara,  is  ever  called  a Brahman,  from  which  it  is  clear  that  A'chara 
does  not  constitute  the  Brahman. 

Say  you  that  Karma  makes  the  Brahman  ? I answer,  no  ; for  the 
argument  used  above  applies  here  with  even  greater  force,  altogether 
annihilating  the  notion  that  acts  constitute  the  Brahman. 

Do  you  declare  that  by  reading  the  Vedas  a man  becomes  a Brah- 
man ? This  is  palpably  false ; for  it  is  notorious  that  the  Rdksliasa 
Havana  was  deeply  versed  in  all  the  four  Vedas  [the  Rig- Veda, 
Yajurveda,  Sama  Veda,  and  Atharva  Veda]  ; and  that,  indeed,  all  the 
Rdkshasas  studied  the  VMas  in  Ravana’s  time  : yet  you  do  not  say 

« Perhaps  it  should  rather  be  translated  learning.  Tliis  word  in  the  original 
is  Jn&na. 


300 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


that  one  of  them  thereby  became  a Brahman.  It  is  therefore  proved 
that  no  one  becomes  a Brahman  by  reading  the  Vedas. 

What  then  is  this  creature  called  a Brahman  ? If  neither  reading 
the  Vedas,  nor  sanskdras,  [sacraments, J nor  parentage,  nor  race  (kula), 
nor  acts  (karma),  confers  Brahmanhood,  what  does  or  can?  To  my 
mind  Brahmanhood  is  merely  an  immaculate  quality,  like  the  snowy 
whiteness  of  the  Kundha  flower.  That  which  removes  sin  is  Brahman- 
hood. It  consists  of  Vrata  and  Tapa,  and  Niyama,  and  Upavdsa, 
and  Dana,  and  Dama,  and  Sliama,  and  Sanyama.  It  is  written  in 
the  Vedas  that  the  gods  hold  that  man  to  be  a Brahman  who  is  free 
from  intemperance  and  egotism ; and  from  Sanya,  and  Parigraha, 
and  Pdga,  and  Dve'sha.  Moreover,  it  is  written  in  all  the  Shastras 
that  the  signs  of  a Brahman  are  these,  truth,  penance,  the  command 
of  the  organs  of  sense,  and  mercy  ; as  those  of  a Chandala  are  the 
vices  opposed  to  those  virtues.  Another  mark  of  the  Brahman  is  a 
scrupulous  abstinence  from  sexual  commerce,  whether  he  be  born  a 
god,  or  a man,  or  a Ipeast.*  Yet  further,  Shukra  (A'charya)  has  said, 
that  the  gods  take  no  heed  of  Caste,  but  deem  him  to  be  the  Brahman 
who  is  a good  man  although  he  belong  to  the  vilest.  From  all  which 
I infer,  that  birth,  and  life,  and  body,  and  wisdom,  and  observance  of 
religious  rites  (A’chara),  and  acts  (Karma),  are  all  of  no  avail  towards 
becoming  a Brahman. 

Then  again,  that  opinion  of  your  sect,  that  Pravrajyd  is  pro- 
hibited to  the  Shiidra  ; and  that  for  him  service  and  obedience  paid 
to  Brahnians  are  instead  of  Pravrajyd, — because,  forsooth,  in 
speaking  of  the  four  castes,  the  Shiidra  is  mentioned  last,  and  is 
therefore  the  vilest, — is  absurd  ; for,  if  it  were  correct,  Indra  would 
be  made  out  to  be  the  lowest  and  meanest  of  beings,  Indra  being 
mentioned  in  the  (Parni)  Sutra  after  the  dog,  thus — “ Shva,  Pura, 
Mugliavan.'’^  In  truth,  the  order  in  which  they  are  mentioned  or 
written,  cannot  affect  the  relative  rank  and  dignity  of  the  beings  spoken 
of.  What ! is  Parvati  greater  than  Mahesha  ? or  are  the  teeth  superior 
in  dignity  to  the  lips,  because  Ave  find  the  latter  postponed  to  the 

* [This  is  according  to  tlic  Buddhist  view.  The  Indian  Brahmans  have  prac- 
tised marriage  from  the  earliest  ages.] 

t [A  name  ot  Indra  in  the  VSdas.] 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


301 


former,  for  the  mere  sake  of  euphony  in  some  grammar  sentence  ? Are 
the  teeth  older  than  the  lips  ; or  does  your  creed  teach  you  to  postpone 
Shiva  to  his  spouse  ? No ; nor  any  more  is  it  true  that  the  Sluidra  is 
vile,  and  the  Brahman  high  and  mighty,  because  -vve  are  used  to  repeat 
the  Chatur  Varna  [four  castes]  in  a particular  order.  And  if  this 
proposition  be  untenable,  your  deduction  from  it,  viz.  that  the  vile 
Shiidra  must  be  content  to  regard  his  service  and  obedience  to  Brah- 
mans as  his  only  Pravrajjjd,*  falls  likewise  to  the  ground. 

Know  further,  that  it  is  written  in  the  Dharma  Shastra  of  Manu, 
that  the  Brahman  who  has  drank  the  milk  of  a Shiidrani,  or  has  been 
even  breathed  upon  by  a Shiidrani,  or  has  been  born  of  such  a female, 
is  not  restored  to  his  rank  by  Prayaschitta.^  In  the  same  work  it  is 
further  asserted,  that  if  any  Brahman  eat  and  drink  from  the  hands  of 
a Shiidrani,  he  becomes  in  life  a Shiidra,  and  after  death  a dog. 
Manu  further  says,  that  a Brahman  who  associates  with  female 
Shudras  or  keeps  a Shiidra  concubine,  shall  be  rejected  by  gods  and 
ancestors^ and  after  death  shall  go  to  hell.  From  all  these  assertions 
of  the  Mauava  Dharma,  it  is  clear  that  Brahmanhood  is  nothing  in- 
defensibly attached  to  any  race  or  breed,  but  is  merely  a quality  of 
good  men.  Further,  it  is  written  in  the  Shastra  of  Manu,  that  many 
Shudras  became  Brahmans  by  force  of  their  piety  ; for  example, 
Kathina  Muni,  who  was  born  of  the  sacrificial  flame  produced  by  the 
friction  of  wood,  became  a Brahman  by  dint  of  Tapa;  and  Vasishtha 
Muni  born  of  the  courtezan  Urvashf,  and  Vyiisa  Muni,  born  of 
a female  of  the  fisherman’s  caste  ; and  liishiyashringa  Muni,  born 
of  a doe  ; and  Vishvdmitra,  born  of  a Chanddlni ; and  Narada  Sluni, 
born  of  a female  spiritseller  ; all  these  became  Brahmans  by  virtue 
of  their  Tapas.  Is  it  not  clear  then  Brahmanhood  depends  not  on 
birth  ? It  is  also  notorious  that  he  who  has  conquered  himself  is  a 
Tati ; that  he  who  performs  penance  is  a Tapasya;  and  that  he  who 
observes  the  Brahmacharya  is  a Bi'ahman.  It  is  clear  then  that 
he  whose  life  is  pure,  and  his  temper  cheerful,  is  the  true  Brahman  ; 
and  that  lineage  (Kula)  has  nothing  to  do  Avith  the  matter.  There 
are  these  Shlokas  in  the  Manava  Dharma,  “ Goodness  of  disposition 
and  purity  are  the  best  of  all  things  ; lineage  is  not  alone  deserving 


[Shushrusha,  service,  in  MS.] 


t {Nishkriti,  atonement,  in  MS.] 


302 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  respect.  If  the  race  be  royal  and  virtue  be  wanting  to  it,  it  is 
contemptible  and  useless.”  Kathina  IMuni  and  Vyasa  Muni,  ami 
other  sages,  though  bom  of  Shudras,  are  famous  among  men  as 
Brahmans,  and  many  persons  born  in  the  lowest  ranks  have  attained  to 
heaven  by  the  practice  of  uniform  good  conduct  (s/izTa).  To  say  there- 
fore that  the  Brahman  is  of  one  particular  race  is  idle  and  false. 

1 our  doctrine,  that  the  Brahman  was  produced  from  the  mouth, 
the  Kshatriya  from  the  arms,  the  Yaishya  from  the  thighs,  and  the 
Shudras  from  the  feet,  cannot  be  supported.  Brahmans  are  not  of  one 
particular  race.  Many  persons  have  lived  who  belonged  to  the 
Kaivarta  [fisherman]  Jcxila,  and  the  Bajalca  [washerman]  kida,  and 
the  Clidnddla  kula,  and  yet,  while  they  existed  in  this  world,  per- 
formed the  Cliitda  Karma  [head-shaving]  and  Munj-bandhana  [tying- 
the-sacred-string],  and  [applying  the]  Danta-Kdshthd  [tooth-rinsing- 
wood]  and  other  acts  appropriated  to  Brahmans,  and  after  their  deaths 
became,  and  still  are,  famous  under  the  Brahman. 

All  that  I have  said  about  BrMimans  you  must  know  is  equally  appli- 
cable to  Kshatriyas  ; and  that  the  doctrine  of  the  four  castes  is  altogether 
false.  All  men  are  of  one  caste. 

Wonderful  ! you  affirm  that  all  men  proceeded  from  one,  i.  e.  Brahma; 
how  then  can  there  be  a fourfold  insuperable  diversity  among  them  ? 
If  I have  four  sons  by  one  Avife,  the  four  sons  having  one  father  and 
mother  must  be  all  essentially  alike.  KnoAV  too  that  distinctions  of  race 
among  beings  are  broadly  marked  by  differences  of  conformations  and 
organization : thus,  the  foot  of  the  elephant  is  very  different  from  that  of 
the  horse ; that  of  the  tiger  unlike  that  of  the  deer  ;*and  so  of  the  rest,  and 
by  that  single  diagnosis  we  learn  that  those  animals  belong  to  very  differ- 
ent races.  But  I never  heard  that  the  foot  of  a Kshatriya  was  different 
from  that  of  a Brahman,  or  that  of  a Shudra.  All  men  are  formed  alike, 
and  are  clearly  of  one  race.  Further,  the  generative  organs,  the  colour, 
the  figure,  the  ordure,  the  urine,  the  odour,  and  utterance  of  the  ox,  the 
buffalo,  the  horse,  the  elephant,  the  ass,  the  monkey,  the  goat,  the  sheep, 
etc.  furnish  clear  diagnostics  whereby  to  separate  these  various  races  of 
animals  ; but  in  all  those  respects  the  Brahman  resembles  the  Kshatriya, 
and  is  therefore  of  the  same  race  or  species  rvith  him.  I have  instanced 
among  quadrupeds  the  diversities  which  separate  diverse  genera. 
I noAV  proceed  to  give  some  more  instances  from  among  birds.  Thus, 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


303 


the  goose,  the  dove,  the  parrot,  the  peacock,  etc.  are  known  to  be 
different  by  their  diversities  of  figure,  and  colour,  and  plumage,  and 
beak  ; but  the  Briihraan,  Kshatriya,  Vaishya,  and  Shudra  are  alike  with- 
out and  within.  How  then  can  we  say  they  are  essentially  distinct? 
Again,  among  trees,  the  Vata  and  Bakula,  and  Palasha  and  Ashoka, 
and  Tamala,  and  Nagakeshara,  and  Shirisha  and  Champaka,  and  others, 
are  clearly  conti'adistinguished  by  their  stems,  and  leaves,  and  flowers, 
and  fruits,  and  barks,  and  timber,  and  seeds,  and  juices  and  odours  ; 
but  Brahmans,  and  Kshatriyas,  and  the  rest,  are  alike  in  flesh,  and 
skins,  and  blood,  and  bones,  and  figure,  and  excrements,  and  mode  of 
birth.  It  is  surely  then  clear  that  they  are  of  one  species  or  race. 
Again,  tell  me,  is  a Brahman’s  sense  of  pleasure  and  pain  different  from 
that  of  the  Kshatriya  ? Does  not  the  one  sustain  life  in  the  same  way, 
and  And  death  from  the  same  causes  as  the  other  ? Do  they  differ  in 
intellectual  fliculties,  in  their  actions,  or  the  objects  of  those  actions  ; in 
the  manner  of  their  birth,  or  in  their  subjection  to  fear  and  hope  ? not 
a whit.*  It  is  therefore  clear  that  they  are  essentially  the  same.  In  the 
Udumbara  and  Panasa  trees  the  fruit  is  produced  from  the  branches, 
the  stem,  the  joints,  and  the  loots. | Is  one  fruit  therefore  different  from 
another,  so  that  we  may  call  that  produced  faom  the  top  of  the  stem  the 
Brahman  fruit,  and  that  from  the  roots  the  Shudra  fruit  ? Surely  not. 
Nor  can  men  be  of  four  distinct  races,  because  they  sprang  from  four 
diSerent  parts  of  one  body.  You  say  that  the  Brahman  was  produced 
from  the  mouth  ; whence  was  the  Brahmani  produced?  From  the 
mouth  likewise  ? Grant  it,  and  then  you  must  marry  the  brother  to 
the  sister  ! a pretty  business  indeed  ! if  such  incest  is  to  have  place  in 
this  world  of  ours,  all  distinctions  of  right  and  wrong  must  be  obliterated. 

This  consequence,  flowing  inevitably  from  your  doctrine  that  the 
Brahman  proceeded  from  the  mouth,  proves  the  falsity  of  that  doctrine. 
The  distinctions  between  Bralimans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras, 
are  founded  merely  on  the  observance  of  divers  rites,  and  the  practice 

• [Mr.  Hodgson  justly  says,  “ The  manner  in  which  our  author  treats  this 
part  of  his  subject,  is,  in  my  judgment  admirable,  and  altogether  worthy  of  a 
European  mind.  Indeed  it  bears  the  closest  resemblance  to  the  stj'le  of  argument 
used  by  Shakespeare. . , .in  the  Merchant  of  Venice  : Hath  not  a Jew  eyes,  etc.”] 

•f  [The  Udambara  is  the  Ficus  glomerata;  and  the  Panasa,  the  Artocarpus 
integrifolia.] 


304 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  different  professions  ; as  is  clearly  proved  by  the  conversation  of 
Vaisluunpayana  Rishi  with  Yudhishthira  Raja,  which  was  as  follows  : 
One  day  the  son  of  Panda,  named  Yudhishthira,  Avho  was  the  wise  man 
of  his  age,  joining  his  hands  reverentially,  asked  Vaishanipayana,  whom 
do  you  call  a Brahman;  and  what  are  the  signs  of  Brahmanhood? 
Vaisham  answered,  the  first  sign  of  aBr.ahman  is,  that  he  possesses  long 
suffering  and  the  rest  of  the  virtues,  and  never  is  guilty  of  violence  and 
wrong-doing ; that  he  never  eats  flesh  ; and  never  hurts  a sentient  thing. 
The  second  sign  is,  that  he  never  takes  that  which  belongs  to  another 
without  the  owner’s  consent,  even  though  he  find  it  in  the  road.  The 
third  sign  is,  that  he  masters  all  worldly  affections  and  desires,  and  is 
absolutely  indifferent  of  earthly  considerations.  The  fourth,  whether 
he  is  born  a man,  or  a god,  or  a beast,  he  never  yields  to  sexual  desires. 
The.  fifth  that  he  possesses  the  following  five  pure  qualities,  truth,  mercy, 
command  of  the  senses,  universal  benevolence,  and  penance.  Whoever 
posse.sses  these  five  signs  of  Brahmanhood  I acknowledge  to  be  a Brah- 
man ; and,  if  he  possess  them  not,  he  is  a Shudia.  Brahmanhood  de- 
pends not  on  race  (Kula)  or  birth,  (Jdti)  nor  on  the  performance  of  cer- 
tain ceremonies.  If  a Chandala  is  virtuous,  and  possesses  the  signs  above 
noted,  he  is  a Brahman.  *Oh  ! Yudhishthira,  formerly  in  this  world  of 
ours  there  was  but  one  caste.  The  division  into  four  castes  originated 
Avith  diversity  of  rites  and  avocations.  All  men  Avere  born  of  Avoman 
in  like  manner.  All  are  subject  to  the  same  physical  necessities,  and 
have  the  same  organs  and  senses.  But  he  Avhose  conduct  is  uniformly 
good  is  a Brahman  ; and  if  it  be  otherwise  he  is  a Shiidra  ; aye,  IcAver 
than  a Shudra.  The  Shudra  Avho,  on  the  other  hand,  possesses  these 
virtues  is  a Brahman. 

Oh,  Yudhishthira  ! If  a Shudra  be  superior  to  the  allurements  of 
the  five  senses,  to  give  him  charity  is  a virtue  that  Avill  be  rewarded  in 
heaven.  Heed  not  his  caste,  but  only  mark  his  qualities.  Whoever 
in  this  life  ever  does  Avell,  and  is  ever  ready  to  benefit  others,  spending 
his  days  and  nights  in  good  acts,  such  an  one  is  a Brahman  ; and  Avho- 
ever,  relinquishing  Avorldly  Avays,  employs  himself  solely  in  the 

* The  word  in  the  original  is  Tapas,  which  we  are  accustomed  to  translate 
“ penance,”  and  I have  followed  the  usage,  though  “ ascetism”  would  he  a better 
word.  The  proud  Tapas,  Avhom  the  very  gods  regard  with  dread,  never  di-eams  of 
contrition  and  repentance. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


305 


acquisition  of  Moksha,  such  an  one  also  is  a Brahman  ; and  whoever 
refrains  from  destruction  of  life,  and  from  worldly  affections,  and  evil 
acts,  and  is  free  from  passion  and  backbiting,  such  an  one  also  is  a 
Brahman  ; and  whoso  possesses  kshamd  [forgiveness],  dayd  [mercy], 
[subjection  of  the  passions],  f?a/ia  [liberality],  satya  [truthful- 
ness], shauchana  [purity],  smriti  [knowledge  of  law],  ghrind  [ten- 
derness], vidyd  [learning],  and  vijndna  [discernment],  etc.,  is  a 
Brahman.  Oh,  Yudhishthira,  if  a person  perform  the  Brahmacharya 
for  one  night,  the  merit  of  it  is  greater  than  that  of  a thousand 
sacrifices  (Yajna).  And  whoso  has  read  all  the  Vedas,  and  performed 
all  the  Tirthas,  and  observed  all  the  commands  and  prohibitions  of  the 
Shastra,  such  an  one  is  a Brahman  1 and  whoso  has  never  injured  a 
sentient  thing  by  act,  word,  or  thought,  such  a person  shall  instantly 
be  absorbed  (at  his  death)  in  Brahma.  Such  were  the  words  of 
Vaishampayana.  Oh,  my  friend,  my  design  in  the  above  discourse  is, 
that  all  ignorant  Brahmans  and  others  should  acquire  wisdom  by 
studying  it,  and  take  to  the  right  way.  Let  them,  if  they  approve  it, 
heed  it ; and  if  they  approve  it  not,  let  them  neglect  its  admonitions.” 

Of  the  time  of  the  production  of  this  curious  and  pun- 
gent tract,  it  is  difficult  to  form  an  opinion.  ]\Ir.  Hodgson 
says,  “ Who  Asliva  Ghoslia,  the  author,  was,  when  he 
flourished  and  where,  I cannot  ascertain.  All  that  is 
knotvn  of  him  at  Nepal  is,  that  he  was  a Maha-Pandit,  or 
great  sage,  and  wrote,  besides  the  little  treatise  now 
translated,  two  larger  Bauddha  works  of  high  repute,  the 
names  of  which  are  mentioned  in  a note.”*  Buniouf  asks 
whether  Ashva  Ghosha  was  the  celebrated  devotee,  whose 
name  is  rendered  in  Chinese  by  Ma  ming  (the  voice  of  a 
horse),  and  who  according  to  the  Japanese  Encyclopoedia, 
was  the  twelfth  Buddhist  patriarch  after  the  death  of 
tShakya  Muni  or  some  more  modern  devotee  of  the  same 

* Buddha  Charitra  Kavya,  and  the  Nandi  Mukhasughoaha  Avadana, 
and  other  works.  Hodgson’s  111.  of  Lit.  and  Eel.  of  the  Buddhists, 
pp.  193-4. 


39 


306 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


name.*  I am  inclined  to  believe  that  the  work  has  been 
long  known,  to  a greater  or  less  extent,  even  on  the  con- 
tinent of  India.  Mr.  Wilkinson  obtained  his  copy  of  it 
from  a Brahman  of  the  town  of  Nasik,  at  Bhopal  in  Central 
India.  The  Rev.  Dr.  Glasgow  lately  sent  me  a cata- 
logue of  a deceased  Brahman’s  library  offered  for  private 
sale,  I observed  in  it  an  entrance — “ The  Vajra  Shuchi' ; 
and  having  asked  this  tract,  and  obtained  it,  through 
the  kindness  of  my  learned  friend,  I find  that  it  professes 
to  he  the  composition  of  the  celebrated  Shankara  A'charya 
(of  the  eighth  century  of  the  Christian  era),  the  copy  having- 
been  made  in  Samvat  1845 — A.  D.  1730.  The  first  part 
of  this  Brahmauic  treatise  is  a brief  memoriter  summary 
of  the  argument  of  the  Buddhist  tract,  as  will  appear 
from  the  following  literal  translation  which  I make  of  it. 

Here  the  Vajra  Shuchi  [the  Adamantine  Needle]  is  ■written. 
Hari  ! Om  ! I begin  to  publish  the  Adamantine  Needle,  the  piercer 
of  the  ignorance  of  the  Sh^tra,  the  stigma  of  the  destitute  of  know- 
ledge, the  ornament  of  the  intelligent.  That  the  Bnihman  is  the 
chief  of  the  four  castes  ( Varna),  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  Vaishya, 
and  Shudra,  is  declared  in  the  Vedas,  and  is  set  forth  by  the  Smritis. 
And  this  is  the  beginning.  What  is  that  which  is  called  a Brahman  ? 
Is  it  life  (Jiva)  ? Is  it  body  {deha)  ? Is  it  birth  (jdti)  ? Is  it  colour 
{varna)  ? Is  it  learning  {pdn,diti/a)  ? Is  it  religion  {dharma)  ? 
Is  it  liberality  {dlumnikya)  ? Is  it  works  (karma)  ? These  are  the 
eight  objections  (brought  forward). 

First,  suppose  that  Life  is  the  thing.  Then,  it  being  so,  the  form 
of  life  being  the  same  in  all  men,  life  cannot  be  the  Brahman. 

And,  again,  suppose  the  Brahman  to  be  Body.  Then,  fi-om  the 
disease  and  mortality  apparent  in  the  body  of  all  men  down  to  the 
Chandala,  it  is  evident  that  body  cannot  be  the  Brahman.  Again, 
if  body  be  the  Brahman,  then  from  the  concremation  of  the  bodies 

Introduct.  a I’Histoire  du  Buddhisme  Indien,  i.  pp.  215-lG. 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


307 


of  fathers  and  mothers,  by  sons,  the  sin  of  Brahmacide  would  attach 
itself  to  them.  Wherefore  body  cannot  be  the  Brahman. 

And  suppose  Colour  to  be  the  Bnihman,  (and  that  it  is  the  case  that)  the 
Brahman  is  of  white  colour,  the  Kshatriya  is  of  red  colour,  the  Vaishya 
is  of  yellow  colour,  the  Shudra  is  of  black  colour  :*  then  from  the 
appearance  of  the  mixture  of  colour  among  all  the  classes,  including 
that  of  the'  Brahmans,  it  is  evident  that  colour  is  not  the  Brahman. 

Again  suppose  Works  to  be  the  Brahman.  According  to  this,  the 
Brahman  of  white  colour  lives  (or  would  live)  a hundred  years  ; the 
Kshatriya,  the  half  (of  this  number,  fifty  years)  ; the  Vaishya,  the 
half  (of  this  number,  twenty-five  years)  ; and  the  Shudra,  the  half 
(of  this  number,  twelve  and  a half  years).  From  there  being  no 
such  rule,  it  is  evident  that  work  constitutes  not  the  Brahman. 

Again,  suppose  Birth  to  be  the  Brahman.  Then,  there  are  many 
great  Rishis  who  have  been  of  strange  birth  : Rishyashringa  was  born 
of  a deer  ; Kaushika  was  from  a stalk  of  the  Kusha -grass  (Poa 
Cynosuroides)  ; Gautama  was  (born)  from  the  back  of  a hair  ; 
Valmlka  (was  born)  from  an  anthill;  Vyasa  (was  born  from)  the 
daughter  of  a fisherman  (^Kaivartaka) ; Vasishtha  (was  born)  of  a 
Vaishya  woman  ; Vishvamitra  (was  born)  of  a Kshatriya  female  ; 
Agasti  was  born  from  a water  jar  ; Mandikya  was  born  from  the 
flower  of  the  Manduka  (Bignonia  Indica)  ; Matanga  was  the  son 
of  a Matanga  (a  low  tribe)  ; Parashara  [the  father  of  Vyasa]  was 
born  from  a female  Chandala  ; Narada  was  the  son  of  a Dasa ; — so 
it  is  set  forth  in  the  Puranas.  These  parties  on  account  of  their  distin- 
guished knowledge  obtained  Brahmanhood  and  pre-eminence,  though 
without  birth,  as  certainly  reported. 

Again,  if  Learning  be  supposed  to  constitute  Brahmanhood,  it  is  found 
that  there  are  many  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shiidras,  etc.,  who  have 
great  knowledge  of  categories  (padartha)  and  logiiial  processes  (vakya-pra- 
mdna) ; and  that  consequently  learning  does  not  constitute  the  Brahman. 

Again,  if  Religion  be  supposed  to  constitute  the  Brahman,  there  are 
many  Kshatidyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shiidras,  etc.,  who  have  in  religious 
observance  performed  meritorious  works  ( ishUipurta) ; and  consequently 
Religion  does  not  constitute  the  Brahman. 

* This  alleged  diversity  of  colour  in  Ihe  primitive  Castes  is  noticed  in  the  Maha 
hharata,  xiii.  v.  6934.  See  also  Muir’s  Texts,  i.  pp.  49-1. 


308 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Again  if  Liberality  be  supposed  to  constitute  the  Brahman,  there 
are  many  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras,  who  have  given  gifts  of 
daughters,  gifts  of  cows,  gifts  of  gold,  gifts  of  ahe-bnffaloes  ; and  there- 
fore liberality  does  not  constitute  the  Brahman, 

What  then  [constitutes  the  Brahman]  ? He  who  sees  the  import  of 
Brahma  as  clearly  as  one  who  holds  [the  fruit  of  the]  A^malaka  in  his 
hand  and  who  is  without  lust,  anger,  hatred,  etc.,  [and  has]  quiet  and 
self-restraint,  and  from  whom  pleasure,  pride,  envy,  desire,  folly,  and 
other  evil  affections  are  removed,  is  declared  to  be  a Brahman.  A 
Shiidra  by  birth  becoming  a Brahmacharya  is  declared  to  be  a dvtja 
(one-twice-born) ; by  practice  in  the  Vedas,  he  becomes  a Vipra  (an  in- 
telligent one) ; and  by  the  knowledge  of  Brahma,  he  becomes  a,  Brahman* 

This  reasoning  is  in  substance  that  of  the  Buddhist 
Vajra  Sliuchi.  Tlie  tract  proceeds  to  dispose  of  the  repre- 
sentations now  quoted  on  the  usual  principles  of  the  Ve- 
dantists, — not  disparaging  the  caste  of  the  Brahmans,  but 
holdinjr  the  knowledo^e  of  Brahma  to  be  essential  to  its 
perfection.  It  appears  to  me  that  its  author  thus  ingeni- 
ously seeks  to  weaken  the  Buddhist  argument,  which  must 
have  been  current  in  the  country  before  he  considered  it 
expedient  to  interfere  with  it. 

And  here  it  is  proper  to  observe  that  though  the 
Vai.shnaA'a  Brahmans, — the  modern  sectarial  followers 
of  Vishnu, — have  most  absurdly  alleged  that  Buddha 
was  a descent  {avatdra),  the  Shaiva  Brahmans, — 
the  sectariiil  followers  of  Shiva, — that  he  was  a personal 
manifestation  (rupadhdrdna)  of  Vishnu, f effected  for  the 

• Shankara  Acharya  virichataydn  upanishat  subodhinyan  Vajra  Sbuchf,  pp.  1-4. 

“ Then  in  the  course  of  the  Kali  (Yuga),  for  distressing  the 
enemies  of  the  Suras  (gods),  he  will  be  born  among  the  Klkatas,  as 
Buddha,  the  son  of  Anjana.”  Bhagavata  Purana,  i.  3.  24.  See 
passages  of  a similar  kind  referred  to  in  Kennedy  on  Ancient  and 
Hindu  Mythology,  p,  250. 


f 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


309 


purpose  of  destroying  the  merit  of  a righteous  king, 
whose  worth  they  allege  came  into  depressing  competition 
with  that  of  the  gods  themselves,  they  have  all  along  rightly 
interpreted  the  principles  of  Buddhism  while  strenuously 
opposing  them. 

In  the  interesting  Nataka,  or  Play,  entitled  the 
MrichchhalcaVikd,  or  Toy  Cart,  attributed  to  king  Sudraka, 
and  supposed  by  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson  to  have  been 
composed  about  a century  before  the  Christian  era,  a 
Shramanaka,  or  Bdddhist  mendicant,  is  represented  as 
thus  sinofinff: — 

o O 

“ Be  virtue,  friend.s,  your  only  store, 

And  restless  appetite  restrain, 

Beat  meditation’s  drum  and  sore 
Your  watch  against  each  sense  maintain  ; 

The  thief  that  still,  in  ambush  lies, 

To  make  devotion’s  wealth  his  prize. 

Cast  the  five  senses  all  away, 

That  trample  o’er  the  virtuous  will. 

The  pride  of  self  importance  slay. 

And  ignorance  remorseless  kill  j 
So  shall  you  safe  the  body  guard. 

And  Heaven  shall  be  your  last  reward. 

Why  shave  the  head  and  mow  the  chin 
While  bristling  follies  choke  the  breast  ? 

Apply  the  knife  to  parts  Avithin 
And  heed  not  how  deformed  the  rest : 

The  heart  of  pride  and  passion  weed. 

And  then  the  man  is  pure  indeed.”* 

• Wilson’s  Hindu  Theatre,  vol.  i.  p.  122.  The  spirit  of  the  original  passage 
(see  Stenzler’s  text,  p.  112)  is  here  preserved,  though  considerable  freedom  has 
been  used  in  the  translatioD. 


310 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  party  thus  chaiinting  with  Buddhistical  propriety, 
wlio  is  represented  as  originally  a Samvdhalca, — a body- 
servant,  or  gambler,  is  also  set  forth  as  saying  when 
about  to  leave  his  original  work,  “ Lady,  on  account  of 
the  disgrace  of  this  gambling  profession  I will  become  a 
Shakya  Shramanaka,"*  thus  intimating  the  motive,  by 
which,  according  to  the  Buddhist  social  reform,  parties 
of  the  lower  castes  of  the  Hindus  were  often  intluenced 
in  their  assumption  of  Buddhist  mendicancy.  A similar 
motive  is  that  by  which  many  parties  of  the  lower  castes 
of  the  Hindus  are  influenced  when  they  join  the  religions 
orders  of  the  present  day. 

In  the  Kashi  Khanda  of  the  Skanda  Purana,  devoted 
to  the  Shaiva  form  of  Hinduism,  the  following  are  said 
to  be  the  Buddhist  teachings  of  Vishnu, — ^I’esponding  to  the 
call  of  Shiva,  to  adopt  measures  for  effecting  the  injury 
of  the  righteous  reign  of  king  Divodasa,  whose  merit 
prevented  the  return  of  Shiva  to  liis  own  city  Kashi : — 

“ This  order  of  things  (sansdra)  is  eternally  manifest  (that  is  has 
no  beginning)  ; (to  it)  there  is  neither  creator  nor  creation.  It  is 
self-existent,  and  self-extinguished.  From  Brahma  to  a (vegetable) 
.spike  everything  is  confined  in  a bodily  form.  The  soul  (A'tmd)  and 
God  (Ishvara)  are  identical ; they  are  not  two  : for  Brahma,  Vishnu, 
and  Indra,  etc.  are  merely  nominal  distinctions,  as  we  are  denomi- 
nated Punyakirti,f  etc.  As  at  our  natural  time  our  bodies  perish, 
so  (other)  bodies,  from  Brahma  to  a fly,  perish  at  their  natural 

* In  the  Prakrita  of  the  play,  the  original  is 
^55TTlTT'T’'T5rf^5riT'^^  being  in  Sanskrita, 

See  the  carefully  edited  text  of  Stenzler, 

pp.  39-40 ; 195. 

t The  name  said  to  be  assumed  by  Vishnu,  when  he  set  to  the  propagation  of 
heresy. 


I 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


311 


time.  On  a proper  view  (of  matters)  there  is  no  superiority  of 
bodies.  Eating,  copulating,  sleeping,  and  fear  are  common  to  all. 
Satisfaction  in  eating  is  common  to  all,  without  any  superiority 
or  inferiority.  Thirst  is  the  consequence  to  all  of  refraining  from 
drinking.  ...Suppose  there  are  hundreds  of  horses:  their  use  to 

sit  on  is  the  same  to  all  (that  is  only  one  at  a time  is  available  for 
sitting  on).  The  pleasure  experienced  by  sleeping  on  couches  is  the 
same  as  if  we  were  sleeping  on  the  Hoor.  As  we  ourselves  possessed 
of  bodies  fear  death,  so  all  from  Brahma  to  an  insect  fear  death 
alike.  If  we  consider  aright,  we  shall  see  that  all  wearing  bodies 
are  alike.  And  having  so  inquired,  it  is  established,  that  there 
should  be  no  slaughter  of  any  one  (living  being)  (at  any  time)  or  at  any 
place.  There  is  no  religion  in  the  world  like  tenderness  to  life 
{Jfvadaiju)  ; wherefore  men  ought  by  all  means  to  practise  tender- 
ness to  life.  He  who  preserves  a single  life,  is  as  if  he  had  preserved 
the  three  worlds,  and  he  who  kills  one  (life)  is  as  if  he  had  destroyed  the 
three  worlds ; wherefoi’e  let  there  be  preserving  and  not  killing.  That 
refraining  from  killing  is  the  supreme  duty  {paramodharma),  is  said 
by  the  learned  (suras)  of  old.  Wherefore,  whoever  has  the  fear  of  hell 
should  avoid-  killing.  There  is  no  sin  in  the  three  worlds  like 
slaughter.  The  killer  goes  to  hell  ; the  non-killer  goes  to  heaven 
(svarga).  There  are  other  offerings,  but  their  fruits  are  very  small. 
The  offering  ( ddna ) freeing  from  fear  is  manifestly  the  greatest  in 
the  three  worlds.  There  are  four  gifts  enjoined  by  the  great  Ri.shis, 
on  the  inspection  of  the  Shastras ; they  are  seen  to  be  prodrrctive  of  ad- 
vantage in  the  present  life  and  that  which  is  to  come  : — giving  confi- 
dence to  the  terrified,  giving  medicine  to  the  suffering,  giving  learning 
to  the  ignorant,  and  giving  food  to  the  hungry.  (Moreover),  the  power- 
in  gems,  mantras,  medicines,  is  to  be  reckoned  extremely  great.  Where- 
fore men  traffic  among  them  by  various  expedients,  and  acquire  wealth. 
Having  acquired  wealth,  continue  to  worship  at  the  twelve  shrines, 
for  without  wealth  there  is  no  other  way  of  worship.  The  twelve 
good  (shrines)  are  the  five  organs  of  sensation,  the  five  faculties  of  sen- 
sation, the  intellectual  faculty  (mana),  and  intelligence  {huddhi). 
Heaven  and  hell  are  in  these  twelve  and  nowhere  else.  Pleasure  is 
said  to  be  heaven,  and  pain  to  be  hell.  If  the  body  die  while  enjoying 
pleasure,  this  is  deliverance  (moksha).  This  is  the  excellent  deliver- 


312 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ance  ; there  is  no  other  deliverance  whatsoever.  The  total  destruction 
of  desire  and  pain  is  in  the  highest  sense  the  excellent  deliverance 
(vijndno-paramomoksha)  this  is  to  be  understood  by  the  perceivers  of 
distinctions.  This  is  the  Shruti  spoken  by  the  learned  in  the  Vedas  : — 
There  is  to  be  no  killing  of  any  living  beings  ; (the  sacrificial  "Rich 
beginning  with)  Agnishoma  begets  bewilderment  to  pure  persons,  for 
to  intelligent  ones  there  is  no  authority  to  its  making  the  destruction  of 
animals.  That  the  cutting  of  trees,  the  slaughtering  of  animals,  the 
making  the  ground  red  with  the  burning  of  oil-giving  plants  and 
clarified  butter,  lead  to  the  attainment  of  heaven  is  surprising.* 

The  doctrines  propagated  by  the  Buddhists, — those  of 
the  eternal  existence  of  the  universe,  of  the  negation  of  a 
Creator  and  a creation,  of  the  identity  of  soul  in  all 
existing  forms,  of  the  natural  course  of  growth  and  decay 
and  pleasure  and  pain,  of  the  universality  of  the  fear  of 
birth  and  death  among  sentient  beings,  of  the  great  virtue 
of  the  preservation  of  life  even  in  its  lowest  forms,  of  the 
evil  of  animal  saciifice  and  the  destruction  of  vegetable 
growth, — are  all  here  plainly  set  forth.  It  is  only  the 
doctrine  of  spirit  involved  in  the  passage  quoted,  how- 
ever, Avhich  can  be  applied  to  the  mitigation  of  the 
pride  of  caste.  Very  precise  on  this  subject  are  the  teach- 
ings in  the  context  put  mto  the  mouth  of  Lakshmi,  the 
spouse  of  Vi.shnu,  who  under  the  name  of  Vijndna  Kau- 
mudi,  is  thus  made  to  hold  forth,  after  alluding  to  the 
propriety  of  enjoying  bodily  pleasures,  which  is  no  peculiar 
tenet  of  the  Buddhists : — “ The  thirteen  beautiful  daughters 
of  Daksha  were  married  to  Kashyapa,  the  son  of  Marichi 
(the  brother  of  Daksha).  People  of  small  understanding 
of  the  present  time  consider  that  such  a kind  of  marriage 


• Kashi  Kbanda,  of  the  Skanda  Purana  ii.  58.  80-108  (fol.  34-37  of  MS.  of  l)r. 
Bhau 


BUDDHIST  VIEW  OF  CASTE. 


313 


h fit,  uiul  yet  not  fit.  Tlie  four  castes  are  produced  from 
tlie  mouth,  arm,  thigh,  and  foot : this  was  the  false 
imagination  of  olden  times.  How  can  four  sons  produced 
from  the  same  body  be  of  separate  castes  ? (High)  caste 
and  low  caste  (varna  avarna)  are  not  to  be  thought  of. 
Distinctions  among  men  are  not  to  be  taken  cognizance  of 
by  any  one  at  any  time  or  at  any  place.”* 

Only  one  explanation  regarding  the  Buddhist  view  of 
Caste  remains  to  be  made.  Though  it  is  evident,  both 
from  tlie  testimony  of  the  Buddhists  tliemselves  and  of 
their  enemies  the  Brahmans,  that  they  opposed  Caste  as 
far  as  they  were  able  according  to  the  exigencies  of  the 
times  in  which  they  lived,  they  actually,  as  a matter  of 
policy,  often  winked  at  its  existence  in  Indian  society. 
While  it  was  not  canied  by  them  into  foreign  countries,  it 
was  tolerated,  though  disparaged,  by  them  wherever  thev 
found  they  had  been  preceded  by  Aryan  rule.  They 
invented,  too,  in  connexion  with  it  their  own  legendrv. 
All  this  is  abundantly  evident  from  what  we  find  to  be  the 
state  of  matters  in  regard  to  the  island  of  Ceylon.  Mr. 
Tolfrey,  in  the  Appendix  to  Lord  Valentia’s  Travels,  says, 
“ The  epoch  in  Avhich  Ave  now  are  is  called  (by  the 
Buddhists)  the  Mahabhadra  Kalpa,”  previous  to  Avhicli  a 
thousand  millions  of  millions  of  worlds  (sakavals)  have 
been  destroyed.  Living  creatures  were  regenerated,  how- 
ever, in  the  higher  regions,  and  became  Brahmas,  AAithout 

* Kaslu  Khanda,  ii.  58,  109-123  (MS.  fol.  36).  The  legend  of 
Divadasa  and  Buddha,  as  found  in  this  work,  is,  in  substance,  given 
by  Vans  Kennedy  in  his  Eesearches  in  Ancient  and  Hindu  Mythology, 
pp.  ■423-'131.  See  also  Author’s  First  Exposure  of  Hinduism,  pp. 
137-140. 


40 


3M 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


any  distinction  of  caste*  Some  of  these  Bralnuas  returned 
to  the  world,  “ which  tliey  formerly  inhabited,  on  their 
being  reproduced,  hut  from  avarice  degenerated  to  such  a 
degree  that  they  began  to  steal.  Upon  this,  quarrels 
arose  among  them,  and  there  being  no  chief  to  decide 
these  disputes,  their  wise  men  reflected  that  the  world 
would  not  be  in  a proper  state  w ithout  some  kind  of  go- 
vernment. Upon  this  they  selected  from  among  them 
a person  renowned  for  wisdom,  whom  they  appointed  to  he 
their  king,  saying  to  him,  ‘ Thou  art  our  king we  Avill 
give  to  thee  one-tenth  part  of  the  substance  we  may  acquire ; 
he  thou  a judge,  and  a ruler  over  us.’  This  king  was 
called  Maha  Sammata,  a compound  Avord,  AAhich  signifies 
a great  assembly  [rather  one  elected  by  many],  to  indicate 
that  he  had  been  chosen  by  the  consent  of  many  people.”* 
The  statements  made  by  Mr.  Spence  Hardy  agree  Avith  this 
condensed  vieAv  of  the  Buddliist  theory  of  tlie  origin  of 
the  principal  Castes.  The  king,  he  tells  us,  W'as  called 
a Khatiyo  or  Ksliatriya ; the  Brahmas,  Avho  concuiTed  in 
the  suppression  of  impious  proceedings,  were  called  Brah- 
manas;  those  who  acquired  wealth,  Vessd,  or  Vaishyas ; 
and  those  wdio  were  addicted  to  hunting,  Sudda,or  Shudras.f 
Several  lists  of  Castes  or  professions  are  given  by  Mr. 
Tolfrey.  Their  denominations  are  principally  derived 
from  the  Sanskrit,  and  are  similar  to  those  contained  in  the 
Indian  lists  Avhich  aa  e have  already  inserted.  They  are 
said  to  haA'e  been  constituted  in  order  to  serve  the  four 
superior  Castes. 

* Lord  Valentia’s  Travels,  iii.  p.  488-9. 

Manual  of  Buddhism,  p.  66. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  315 


The  destruction  of  Buddhism  by  Brahmanism  under 
caste  influence  I shall  afterwards  have  occasion  to  notice 
I conclude  this  chapter  by  remarking-  that  the  Jainas,  who 
are  only  Buddhist  Seceders,  take  exactly  the  same  view  of 
Caste  as  their  speculative  progenitors.  Their  Yatis  or 
Jatis^aud  other  religionists  in  the  West  of  India,  continu- 
ally assail  Caste  by  such  arguments  as  we  find  in  the 
Vajra  Shuchi  of  Ashva  Gho.?ha. 


VITI. — A Peep  AT  Indian  Society  by  the  Greeks. 

India  is  emphatically  the  land  of  mystery.  It  has  been 
a land  of  mystery  from  the  earliest  ages  to  the  present 
hour.  It  has  been  a land  of  mystery  to  distant  strangers, 
to  friendly  and  hostile  visitors,  and  even  to  its  own 
inhabitants.  Scarcely  any  other  country  of  the  world 
is  to  be  compared  to  it  in  this  respect.  Egypt,  with  its 
hieroglyphic  and  hieratic  characters  and  its  esoteric 
doctrines,  had  its  records  and  gigantic  works  palpable  to 
all,  which  declared  the  grand  outlines  of  its  history,  even 
back  to  the  remotest  ages.  Assyria,  Babylon,  and 
Persia,  though  long  obscure  to  their  neighbours,  did  not 
conceal  their  history  from  their  own.  people,  but  even 
stamped  much  of  it  on  bricks  and  cylinders,  and  graved 
much  of  it  on  permanent  tablets  and  on  rocks,  to  be 
read  by  all  men.  The  closed  land  of  China,  though 
jealous  of  foreign  intrusion,  has  always  patronized  an 
open  literature  for  the  benefit  of  its  own  sons,  as  well  as 
preserved  and  published  the  results  of  the  thought  and 
research  of  its  numerous  moralists,  economists,  and  re- 
corders. Lidia  alone  has  striven  to  keep  itself  in  obscurity 


316 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


and  darkness.  It  had  its  poets  in  the  early  ages  of  the 
world;  but  the}'  composed,  and  sang,  and  recited,  princi- 
pally for  themselves  and  the  gods  of  their  invention  and 
recognition.  It  had  its  priests,  more  numerous  perhaps 
than  those  of  any  other  country,  but  they  kept  their 
knowledge  within  their  own  circle,  making  of  it  an  entire 
monopoly.  It  had  its  thinkers  and  wise  men;  but  their 
lips  did  not  “ disperse  knowledge,”  but  enjoined  the 
preservation  of  it  as  a body  of  secrets  to  be  communicated 
only  to  particular  classes  of  men,  and  amongst  these  oidy 
to  the  disciplined  and  initiated.  It  had  its  princes  who 
patronized  its  bards  and  eulogists  ; but  these  princes 
encouraged  these  bards  and  eulogists  to  deal  with  flat- 
teries and  fables  and  not  with  facts  and  principles.  It 
had  its  peculiar  itiJu'isa,  but  this,  speaking  generally,  was 
simply  a licensed  fiction,  a dogmatic  assertion  that  mat- 
ters (in  their  incongruities  and  puerilities  beyond  the 
sphere  of  rational  belief)  were  said  to  he  so  and  so,  without 
reference  to  their  real  orig-in  and  circumstantials.  It  con- 
tented  itself  with  bare  genealogical  tables,  which  make  no 
distinction  between  tlie  divine,  the  heroic,  and  the  human, 
and  into  which  were  thrust  apocryphal  additions  whenever 
a new  power  or  dynasty,  however  obscure,  was  anxious  to 
invent  and  claim  the  ])restige  of  antiquity.  When  these 
tables  necessarily  referred  to  later  times,  they  were  actu- 
ally set  forth,  as  in  the  Bhagavata,  Yidinu,  and  other 
Puranas,  not  as  chronicles  of  the  past,  but  as  prophecies  of 
the  future.  Its  own  progress  and  development,  it  neither, 
as  a consequence,  observed  nor  recorded.  The  only 
glimpses  into  its  past  which  itself  furnished  were  obtained 
by  occasional  rents  in  the  veil  of  its  mystery  by  the 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  317 


violent  hand  of  sectarianism,  as  in  the  case  of  Buddhism 
and  other  attempts  to  modify  or  change  its  general  creed. 
It  even  kept  aloof,  after  its  early  ages,  from  commerce 
and  communion  with  neighbouring  nations,  which  its 
own  sons  were  forbidden  to  visit  on  pain  of  religious 
deprivation. 

It  is  the  fact  that  India  has  thus  not  spoken  for  herself 
that  gives  such  a great  interest  to  the  notices  taken  of  it 
in  connexion  with  the  nations  and  tribes  which  by 
visiting  its  shores  sought  to  carry  its  productions  to 
distant  lands;  and  to  the  observations  made  on  the 
borders  of  its  territories  or  within  its  own  boundaries  by 
those  who  have  sought  to  acquire  its  sovereignty,  or  to 
maintain  with  it  a good  understanding  in  connexion  with 
their  neighbouring  colonies.  This  interest  is  now  en- 
hanced  tenfold,  when  the  vast  and  non-reviewed  literature 
of  India  is  in  all  its  departments,  in  this  critical  age, 
passing  into  the  hands  of  those  who  are  competent  to 
observe  its  indications,  to  interpret  its  spirit,  and  to  cast 
the  light  which  it  yields  on  the  patli  of  its  past  advance- 
ment, and  on  the  present  state  of  its  society,  and  its 
physical  condition. 

From  all  the  people  of  antiquity  brought  into  contact 
with  India,  we  should  expect  the  most  from  the  Greeks. 
They  had  a cultivated  intelligence,  ardent  curiosity,  and, 
except  as  modified  by  an  inordinate  tribual  pride,  feelings 
of  catholicity  connected  with  all  that  could  be  character- 
ized as  an  approximation  to  civilization.  It  was  among 
them  that  the  historiccil  faculty  properly  so-called  was 
first  developed  in  extended  comprehensiveness  and 
laborious  research.  History  (laTopla), — learning  or 


318 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


knowing  by  inquiry,  and  the  knowledge  or  information 
so  obtained, — was  their  own  word  ; and  the  improvement 
of  the  historical  faculty  was  their  own  glory.  They 
belonged  to  the  same  great  race  from  which  the  dominant 
Indians,  the  ATyans,  had  sprung.  Their  forefathers, 
with  those  of  these  ATyas,  had  long  been  members  of 
the  same  family  and  community,  and  had  had  the  same 
social  connexions,  the  same  speech,  the  same  gods,  and 
the  same  religion.  The  questions  at  once  occur,  when 
we  realize  their  intercommunion  in  subsequent  times, — 
Did  the  Greeks  recognize  their  remote  but  close  rela- 
tionship with  the  A'ryas  ? did  they  perceive  in  India 
the  many  elements  of  their  common  speech  ? did  they 
discover  the  identity  or  analogous  position  of  the  Grecian 
and  Indian  gods  1 did  they  see  how  the  tribes  migrating 
to  the  w'est  and  those  moving  to  the  south  or  south-east 
had,  with  marked  peculiar  diversities  of  occupation  and 
development,  certain  things  in  common  ? did  they  note 
the  peculiarities  of  India,  and  contrast  them  with  those 
of  their  own  country  1 These  and  other  similar  ques- 
tions can  be  answered  only  by  a careful  collation  of,  and 
attention  to,  the  fragments  of  their  accounts  of  India 
which  remain,  and  the  comparison  of  them  with  what  we 
know  of  India  itself  and  find  in  its  literary  remains.  By 
a similar  process  we  answer  the  inquiries.  Do  the  Greek 
accounts  illustrate  the  Indian  literature,  and  Does  the 
Indian  literature  illustrate  the  Greek  accounts  ? Both 
series  of  questions  will  be  answered,  in  part  at  least,  as 
we  proceed  with  this  section  of  our  volume. 

The  first  Greek  author  who  mentions  India  by  name, 
I need  scarcely  mention,  is  Herodotus,  the  father  of 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GEEEKS.  319 


profane  history.*  He  was  born  at  Halicarnassus  in 
Caria  about  the  year  B.  C.  484;  and  he  probably  lived 
to  an  advanced  age.  He  had  intimate  connexions  at 
various  times  with  Greece  and  the  Greek  colonies,  and 
he  was  a great  traveller  in  Europe,  the  North  of  Africa, 
and  the  West  of  Asia.  He  had,  for  his  day,  a compre- 
hensive view  of  the  objects  of  history.  “ Herodotus  of 
Halicarnassus,”  he  says,  publishes  his  researches  in  order 
to  prevent  the  achievements  of  men  from  fading  in  the 
oblivion  of  time,  and  lest  the  great  and  admirable  exploits 
both  of  Greeks  and  Barbarians  should  fail  of  their  due 
renown.  He  also  proposes  to  explain  the  occasions  of 
the  wars  which  have  been  carried  on  between  them.”f 
The  w’ars  before  him  were  specially  those  of  the  Greeks 
and  Persians.  It  is  in  connexion  with  these  wars  that 
he  notices  the  circumstances  of  the  various  peoples  which 
were  affected  by  them.  The  course  of  his  history,  which 
he  dedicates  to  the  Muses,  properly  commences  with  the 
time  (B.  C.  546)  when  Cyrus,  the  founder  of  the  Persian 
empire,  conquered  the  Lydian  kingdom  of  Croesus,  and 
extends  to  the  capture  of  Sestos  (B.  C.  478),  when  the 
Greeks  triumphed  over  the  Persians.  It  is  in  connexion 
with  his  enumeration  and  description  of  the  satrapies  of 
Darius  that  he  notices  India,  both  as  included  in  these 
satrapies  and  exterior  to  them.  He  had  not  personally 
visited  India,  his  travels  to  the  East  having  terminated 
in  Mesopotamia  or  the  Persian  provinces  contiguous  to 
that  country.  There  can  be  but  little  doubt  that  he  had 

* Perhaps  India  was  included  in  the  Ethiopia  of  Homer  (Od. 
i.  23-24'). 

f Herodotus,  Clio.,  1. 


320 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


intercourse  with  parties  who  had  seen  India  or  made  it 
the  subject  of  inquiry  with  those  who  had  visited  its  border 
provinces.  The  information  which  he  gives  respecting 
it,  though  brief,  and  not  to  be  received  wdthout  criticism, 
is  nevertheless  of  a valuable  character. 

Of  geographical  discoveries  and  acquisition  of  terri- 
tory in  India  by  Darius,  Herodotus  thus  wu'ites  : — “ The 
greater  part  of  [the  unknown]  Asia  was  explored  under 
the  direction  of  Darius.  This  king  wishing  to  know  on 
what  part  of  the  coast  the  Indus  meets  tlie  sea — a river 
which  after  the  Nile  is  the  only  one  [then  known]  that 
produces  crocodiles,  sent  ships  with  persons  on  whose 
fidelity  and  truth  he  could  rely,  and  among  these  was 
kScylax  of  Car3^andea.  These  setting  out  from  Caspa- 
tyrus,  a city  of  Pactyica,  descended  the  river  in  its  course 
towards  the  East  (?)  till  they  reached  the  sea.”  “After 
this  voyage  had  been  accomplished,  Darius  subdued  the 
Indians,  and  frequented  that  sea,”  (the  Indian  Ocean).* 
The  origin  of  this  voyage  must  have  been  on  the  Kabul 
affluent  of  the  Indus — theKophenor  Kuhhd.  Pactyica, 
(the  country  in  which  it  commenced)  is  recognizable  in 
the  name  of  a people,  with  whom  w'e  are  all  familiar, 
found  in  that  locality  to  the  present  day,  I mean  tlie 
Pakhtus  or  Pathans.  Speaking  of  the  twentieth  satrapy 
of  Darius  established  through  this  conquest,  Herodotus 
further  says : — “ The  Indians  a people  much  more 
numerous  than  any  that  is  known  contributed  a sum 
proportionately  larger  than  that  of  any  other  division, 
for  they  paid  three  hundred  and  sixty  talents  of  gold 


* Herod.  i\\  44.  Taylor,  p.  285. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  HY  THE  GREEKS.  321 


dust.”*  We  have  not  to  suppose,  from  this  notice,  that  the 
empire  of  Darius  extended  over  all  the  country  now  com- 
prehended under  the  name  of  India.  It  embraced,  there 
is  reason  to  believe,  only  the  country  contiguous  to  the 
hanks  of  the  Indus  and  the  territory  lying  on  the  Persian 
side  of  the  Hindu  Caucasus.  This  is  evident  from  what  is 
afterwards  added  by  Herodotus  : — “ The  eastern  part  of 
India  is  a desert  of  sand,  and  of  all  the  nations  known  to 
us,  or  of  which  we  possess  any  certain  information,  the 
Indians  are  the  farthest  toward  the  East,  being  on  that 
side  the  first  people  of  Asia : for  the  sands  render  the 
country  beyond  them  towards  the  east  uninhabitable. ”f 
The  great  desert  here  referred  to  is  supposed  by  Sir 
Gardiner  Wilkinson  to  be  that  lying  to  the  north  of  the 
Himalaya  between  that  range  and  the  Tchien  Chau 
Range.;}:  Major  Rennell  supposes  that  it  may  apply  to 

the  country  between  the  lower  part  of  the  Indus  and 
Rajputana.§  It  is  evident  that  Herodotus  had  not  been 
exactly  informed  of  the  peninsula  of  India,  stretching  into 
the  Indian  ocean,  though  he  speaks  in  the  progress  of  his 
narrative  of  a people  resembling  Ethiopians  in  the  tint 
of  their  skin,  whose  country  was  a long  way  from  Persia 
(that  is  the  Persian  dominions)  towards  the  south. 

India  is  the  only  satrapy  which  Herodotus  represents 
as  paying  its  tribute  in  gold.  The  sum  which  he  speci- 
fies as  yielded  by  it  is  very  large,  being  four  and  a half 
times  as  much  in  value  as  that  yielded  by  the  opulent 
satrapy  of  Babylonia  and  Assyria.  The  region  from 
which  the  gold  was  procured  is  indicated  by  him,  it  is 

* Herod,  iii.  94.  f Ib.  iii.  98. 

I See  Rawlinsou’s  Herod.  § Rennell’s  Geo.  oi  Herod,  p.  309. 

41 


322 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


believed,  witli  accuracy.  “ There  are  other  Indians  not 
far  distant  from  the  city  Caspatyrus,  and  the  region 
Pactyica.”  “The  mode  of  life  followed  by  these  is 
similar  to  that  of  the  Bactrians.  They  are  the  most 
warlike  of  all  the  Indians ; and  it  is  these  who  furnish 
the  gold.”*  The  northern  portions  of  this  district  em- 
bracing the  lofty  ranges  of  the  Hindu  Kush,  the  Belur- 
Tagli  and  Mus-Tagh,  Altai,  and  other  places  near  the 
sources  of  the  Oxus  and  Kabul  Indus,  are  said  to 
“ abound  with  the  precious  metal-”  This  portion  of 
country  is,  I think,-  referred  to  in  the  book  of  Genesis, — in 
connexion  with  the  seat  of  the  garden  of  Eden  and  the 
rivers  of  paradise.  “ A river  (or  watershed,  panalot,  or 
water-roll  in  the  Indian  languages,  as  I venture  to 
interpret  it)  went  out  of  Eden,  to  water  the  garden 
(probably  an  extended  district)  ; and  from  thence  it  was 
))arted,  and  became  into  four  heads  (for  actual  drainage). 
The  name  of  the  first  is  Pishon  (or  the  Shon  or  Indus  in 
this  quarter.  Pi,  the  first  syllable  of  tlie  word,  as  I have 
elsewhere  conjectured,!  being  the  Egyptian  definite  article, 
and  SJton  being  the  Egyptian  name  of  the  Simihu,  or 
Indus);  that  is  it  which  compasseth  the  whole  land  of 
Havilah  (the  Campilla  of  the  Indians,  as  tliought  by  Pro- 
fessor Lassen),  where  there  is  gold  ; and  the  gold  of  that 
land  is  good : tliere  is  bdolach  and  the  onyx  stone.  And 
the  name  of  the  second  river  is  Gihon  (admitted  by  all 
o-eoo-raphers  to  be  the  Oxus) : the  same  is  it  that  com- 
])assed  the  whole  of  Cush  (translated  Ethiopia).”!  This 
region,  I believe  with  others,  furnished  the  gold  of  the 

* Herod,  iii.  98.  t India  Tliree  Thousand  Years  Ago. 

! Gen.  ii.  10-12. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  323 


Solomonic  commerce,  referred  to  in  the  books  of  Kings 
and  Chronicles,  which  was  exported  from  ports  on  the 
Indus,  in  the  province  denominated  by  Ptolemy  Abiria, 
and  by  the  Periplus,  Sabiria  mA  Iberia, — the  land  of  the 
A bhiras,  the  Indian  Ophir.* 

The  account  given  by  Herodotus  of  the  method  of  the 
accpiisition  of  the  gold  referred  to  has  afforded  much 
amusement  since  his  day,  though  it  has  been  substantially 
repeated  by  some  of  his  successors. 

“ Here  in  this  desert  (that  is  the  sandy  desert  already  mentioned) 
there  live  amid  the  sand  great  ants,  in  size  somewhat  less  than  dogs, 
but  bigger  than  foxes.  The  Persian  king  has  a number  of  them  which 
have  been  caught  by  the  hunters  in  the  land  whereof  we  are  speaking. 
Tliese  ants  make  their  dwellings  under  ground,  and  like  the  Greek 
ants  which  they  very  much  resemble  in  shape,  throw  up  sand  heaps 
as  they  burrow.  Now  the  sand  which  they  throw  up  is  full  of  gold. 
The  Indians,  when  they  go  into  the  desert  to  collect  this  sand,  take 
three  camels  and  harness  them  together,  a female  in  the  middle  and  a 
male  on  either  side  in  a leading  rein.  The  rider  sits  on  the  female  ; 
and  they  are  particular  to  choose  for  the  purpose  one  that  has  but  just 
dropped  her  young ; for  the  female  camels  can  run  as  fast  as  horses, 
while  they  bear  burdens  very  much  better.  When  the  Indians  there- 
fore have  thus  equipped  themselves  they  set  off  in  quest  of  the  gold, 
calculating  the  time  so  that  they  may  be  engaged  in  seizing  it  during 
the  most  sultry  part  of  the  day,  when  the  ants  hide  themselves  to 

escape  the  heat When  the  Indians  reach  the  place  where  the 

gold  is,  they  fill  their  bags  with  the  sand,  and  ride  away  at  their  best 
speed  ; the  ants,  however,  scenting  them,  as  the  Persians  say,  rush 
forth  in  pursuit.  Now  thc.se  animals  are  so  swift,  they  declare,  that 
there  is  nothing  in  the  world  like  them  ; if  it  were  not  therefore,  that 
the  Indians  get  a start  while  the  ants  are  mustering,  not  a single  gold- 

* See  Lassen’s  Indische  Alterthumskunde,  ii.  p.  539.  Josephus 
(Antiq.  1.  3.  3.)  and  many  of  the  Christian  Fathers  made  the  Pishoa 
tlie  Ganges. 


324 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


gatherer  could  escape.  During  the  flight  the  male  camels,  which  are 
not  so  fleet  as  the  females,  grow  tired,  and  begin  to  drag,  first  one 
and  then  the  other ; but  the  females  recollect  the  young  which  they 
have  left  behind,  and  never  give  way  or  flag.  Such,  according  to  the 
Persians,  is  the  manner  in  which  the  Indians  get  the  greater  part  of 
their  gold  ; some  is  dug  out  of  the  earth,  but  of  this  the  supply  is 
scanty.”* 

In  this  narrative  there  are  donbtless  proofs  both  of 
imposition  practised  upon  Herodotus  by  his  informers, 
and  of  the  simplicity  and  credulity  of  the  historian. 
Even  in  its  absurdities,  however,  heightened  though 
they  have  been  by  the  fears  of  the  gold-finders  lest  their 
occupation  should  be  interfered  with  by  interlopers,  there 
is  a substratum  of  truth.  The  late  Professor  Horace 
Hayman  Wilson  is  of  opinion  that  the  story  may  have 
arisen  from  the  fact  that  the  gold  found  in  the  plains  of 
little  Thibet  is  commonly  called  Pippilika  or  “ant”  gold, 
I'rom  the  belief  that  the  colonies  of  ants,  by  their 
wonted  operations,  are  instrumental  in  bringing  the  gold 
to  view.  A better  conjecture,  in  my  opinion,  has  been 
made  than  this.  It  is  that  the  animal  which  is  said  to  bur- 
row in  the  sands  is  the  Pengolin,  or  ant-eater  (the  Manis 
crassicaudata),  called  hy  thenatives  of  the  Maratha  Coun- 
try the  Kauvali  manjar  (or  tiled  cat).  The  habits  of  this 
animal  in  burrowing  in  the  sands  are  well  known ; and 
it  is  abundant  in  many  places  of  India.  It  is  one  of  the 
most  remarkable  of  the  Edentata  mammals ; and  as  its 
familiars  are  not  recognized  by  the  natives  of  India,  they 
give  very  fabulous  accounts  of  its  powers  and  capacities, 
especially  of  its  alleged  ability  to  kill  a man  by  the 
sweep  of  its  tail,  which  bears  a greater  proportion  to  the 


Taylor’s  Herodotus,  p.  494. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  325 


size  of  its  trunk  than  is  found  in  any  other  quadruped. 
In  certain  of  its  aspects,  as  looked  at  by  the  rude  childreji 
of  nature,  it  has  some  resemblance  to  an  ant.  It  is  so 
curious  altogether  that  it  is  not  unlikely  that  specimens 
of  it  may  have  been  sent  to  the  king  of  Persia.  It  is  a 
mistake  of  our  countrymen  in  India,  to  say  that  food  cannot 
be  provided  for  it  in  a state  of  captivity.  I nourished 
a specimen  of  it  for  a couple  of  months,  by  giving  it 
milk  and  eggs ; and  it  died  only  in  consequence  of  a fall 
which  it  had  of  about  twenty  feet. 

Of  the  tribes  of  India,  Herodotus  remarks  that  they 
are  “ numerous,”  and  that  “ they  do  not  all  speak  the 
same  language.”  The  A'ryan  conquerors  of  India,  who 
spoke  the  Vedic  language  (called  Sanskrita  when  after- 
wards it  had  the  benefit  of  grammatical  culture),  were 
not,  as  we  have  seen  in  former  parts  of  this  work,  the 
first  immigrants  into  India.  They  found  that  they  had 
been  preceded  not  only  by  tribes  remotely  cognate  with 
tliemselves,  but  by  many  Scythian,  Turanian,  and  Hamitic 
tribes,  whose  languages  they  but  little  understood.  About 
the  time  of  Herodotus,  the  Sanskrit  was  about  to  cease 
to  be  a spoken  language.  Such  of  the  tribes  of  India  as 
laid  aside  their  own  Turanian  dialects,  had  then  formed 
a great  many  provincial  dialects,  in  their  attempts  to  make 
themselves  intelligible  to  the  dominant  people.  This 
diversity  of  language  was  not  unknown  even  in  what 
must  have  been  the  Persian  India.  There  are  several 
Indus  dialects  (as  there  are  great  diversities  of  tribes)  on 
the  banks  of  that  river  even  in  the  present  day.  It  is 
an  extremely  curious  fact  that  the  language  of  the 
Braliuis,  a people  there  to  be  found,  is  cognate  not  so 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


3-2  G 


umcli  with  the  languages  of  Northern  as  witli  tliose  of 
Southern  India. 

Of  a certain  tribe  or  class  on  the  banks  of  the  Indus, 
Herodotus  says : — “ They  who  dwell  in  the  marshes  along 
the  river,  live  on  raw  fish,  which  thev  take  in  boats  made 
of  reeds,  each  formed  out  of  a single  joint.  These 
Indians  wear  a dress  of  sedge,  which  they  cut  in  the 
river  and  bruise  ; afterwards  they  weave  it  into  mats,  and 
wear  it  as  we  wear  a breast-plate.”  Rude  Ichthyophagi 
of  tliis  character  have  been  associated  with  many  countries, 
but  partially  known.  Some  have  supposed  that  the  reed 
out  of  which  their  boats  were  constructed  were  bambus  ; 
but  the  fabrication  of  boats  from  a single  joint  of  a bambu 
was  impossible. 

“ Eastward  of  these  Indians,”  our  author  goes  on  to 
sav,  “ are  another  tribe  called  Padoeans,  who  are  wander- 
ers, and  live  on  raw  flesh.  This  tribe  is  said  to  have 
the  followiiio;  customs  : — If  one  of  their  number  be  ill, 
man  or  woman,  they  take  the  sick  person,  and  if  he  be  a 
man,  the  men  of  his  acquaintance  proceed  to  put  him 
to  death,  because  they  say  his  flesh  would  be  spoilt  for 
them  if  he  pined  and  wasted  away  with  sickness.  The 
man  protests  he  is  not  ill  in  the  least,  but  his  friends  uill 
not  accept  his  denial — in  spite  of  all  he  can  say  they  kill 
him,  and  feast  themselves  on  his  body.  So  also  if  a 
woman  be  sick,  the  women  who  are  her  friends  take  her 
and  do  with  her  exactly  the  same  as  the  men.  If  one  of 
them  reaches  to  old  age,  about  which  there  is  seldom 
anv  question,  as  commonly  before  that  time  they  have 
had  some  disease  or  other,  and  so  have  been  put  to  death — 
but  if  a man  notwithstanding  comes  to  be  old,  then  they 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GKEEKS.  327 

offer  him  in  sacrifice  to  their  gods  and  afterwards  eat  his 
flesh.” 

On  tlie  cannihalism  here  referred  to,  tlie  following  note 
is  given  in  RaAvlinson’s  lately  published  translation  of 
Herodotus — a work  of  great  merit,  and  generally  edited 
with  critical  carefulness  and  accuracy.  “ The  same 
Custom  (of  cannibalism)  is  said  to  have  prevailed  among 
the  Massagetae  and  the  Issidonians ; and  a similar  one 
is  mentioned  by  Strabo  as  existing  among  the  Caspiaus 
and  the  Derbices.  Marco  Polo  found  the  practice  in 
Sumatra  in  his  own  day.  “ The  people  of  Dragoian,” 
he  says,  “observe  this  horrible  custom  in  cases  wliere  any 
member  of  their  family  is  afflicted  with  a disease.  The 
relations  of  the  sick  person  send  for  the  magicians,  whom 
they  require,  on  examination  of  the  symptoms,  to  declare 
whether  he  will  recover  or  not.  If  the  decision  be  that 
he  cannot,  the  relations  then  call  in  certain  men  whose 
peculiar  duty  it  is,  and  who  perform  their  business  witli 
dexterity,  to  close  the  mouth  until  he  is  suffocated.  This 
l)eing  done  they  cut  the  body  in  pieces  in  order  to  prepare 
it  as  victuals,  and  when  it  has  been  so  dressed  the  relations 
assemble,  and  in  a convivial  manner  eat  the  whole  of  it, 
not  leaving  so  much  as  the  marrow  in  the  bones.’  Accord- 
ing to  some  modern  writers  (Elphinstoiie’s  Cabul,  vol.  i. 
p.  45,  2nd  ed.)  cannibalism  continues  in  tlie  countries 
bordering  on  the  Indus  to  the  present  day.”* 

To  this  I would  add,  that  the  word  Padoean  may  perhaps 
have  been  derived  from  the  Iiuhan  Pahudi,  or  “ moun- 
taineers,” against  whom  the  charge  of  cannibalism  is  not 
yet  extinct,  even  in  parts  more  to  the  east  and  south  than 


* Eawlinson’s  Herodotus. 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tlie  Indus.  In  an  account  of  the  Bandarwars  by  Lient. 
Prendergast,  we  find  the  following  statement  : — 

“ In  May,  1820,  I visited  tlie  hills  of  Amarkantak,  and  the  source 
of  the  Narbada  river,  accompanied  by  Capt.  W.  Lo\v  of  the  Madras 
Army,  and  having  heard  that  a particular  tribe  of  Gonds  who  lived 
in  the  hills  were  Cannibals,  I was  anxious  to  ascertain  the  truth  of  the 
assertion,  and  made  the  most  particular  enquiries  (assisted  by  my 
munshi,  Mohan  Sinha,  an  intelligent  and  well  informed  Kayath)  as  to 
their  general  habits  and  mode  of  living.  We  learned,  after  much 
trouble,  that  there  was  a tribe  of  Gonds  Avho  resided  in  the  hills  of 
Amarkantak,  and  to  the  S.  E.  in  the  Gondwiida  country,  who  held 
very  little  intercourse  with  the  villagers,  and  never  went  among  them, 
except  to  barter  or  purchase  provisions.  This  race  live  in  detached 
parties,  and  have  seldom  more  than  eight  or  ten  huts  in  one  place. 
They  are  Cannibals  in  the  real  sense  of  the  word,  but  never  eat  the  flesh 
of  any  person  not  belonging  to  their  own  family  or  tribe  ; nor  do  they 
do  this  except  on  particular  occasions.  It  is  the  custom  of  this  singular 
people  to  cut  the  throat  of  any  person  of  their  family  Avho  is  attacked 
by  severe  illness,  and  who  they  think  has  no  chance  of  recovering, 
Avhen  they  collect  tlie  whole  of  their  relations  and  particular  friends, 
and  feast  upon  the  body.  In  like  manner,  when  a person  arrives  at  a 
great  age,  and  becomes  feeble  and  weak,  the  Halal-khor  operates  upon 
him,  Avhen  the  different  members  of  the  family  assemble  for  the  same 
purpose  as  above  stated.  In  other  respects,  this  is  a simple  race  of 
people,  nor  do  they  consider  cutting  the  throats  of  their  sick  relations 
or  aged  parents  any  sin ; but  on  the  contrary  an  act  acceptable  to 
Kali,  a mercy  to  their  relations,  and  a blessing  to  their  whole  race.”* 

This  matter  deserves  to  he  inquired  into.  It  was  the 
eliarge  of  infanticide  against  the  Indians  hrouglit  hy 
Colonel  Wilford  on  the  alleged  authority  of  the  Greeks 
and  Romans,  which  led  Jonathan  Duncan  to  discover  the 
awful  custom  of  infanticide  among  the  Rajputs.  Our  actual 
acquaintance  with  the  inhahitauts  of  the  forests  of  India  is 
a great  deal  more  limited  than  it  ought  to  he  at  the  present 

* Alexander’s  E.  I.  Magazine,  1831,  p.  140. 


1‘EEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  329 


time.  Let  India  look  to  itself,  as  well  as  devote  its  enter- 
prizing  officers  to  the  work  of  African  discovery. 

The  antipodes  of  the  cannihals  with  Herodotus  were  the 
])arties  who  entirely  abstained  from  animal  food.  “ There 
is  another  set  of  Indians,”  he  says,  “ whose  customs  are 
very  diflerent.  They  refuse  to  put  any  live  animal  to 
death,  they  sow  no  corn,  and  have  no  dwelling  houses. 
Vegetables  are  theii’  only  food.  There  is  a plant  which 
grows  wild  in  their  country,  bearing  seed  about  the  size  of 
a millet-seed  in  a calyx ; their  wont  is  to  gather  this  seed, 
and  having  boiled  it,  calyx  and  all,  to  use  it  for  food.  If 
one  of  them  is  attacked  with  sickness,  he  goes  forth  into 
(he  wilderness,  and  lies  down  to  die  ; no  one  has  the  least 
concern  either  for  the  sick  or  for  the  dead.”  Herodotus 
wrote  about  the  times  of  the  Buddhists  ; hut  even  before 
their  day  great  tenderness  to  animal  life  had  been  deve- 
loped in  India,  as  a consequence  of  the  doctrine  of  the 
metempsychosis,  which  however  is  not  to  he  found  in  the 
Vedas,  which  in  many  places  exemplify  the  use  of  animal 
food,  even  of  that  of  the  cow  afterwards  so  sacred  throughout 
the  country.  The  first  limitation  as  to  animal  food  with 
which  I am  acquainted  is  in  by  far  the  most  modern  of  tlie 
Vedas,  the  Atharvana.  It  occurs  in  a command  (already 
Inferred  to)  not  to  kill  the  “ inedilde  cows  of  the  Brah- 
mans,” and  seems  to  have  in  view  only  the  preservation  of 
their  pets.*  The  avoidance  of  the  use  of  the  cereals  by  the 
vegetarians  hinted  at  by  Herodotus  is  explained  partly  by 
the  injunctions  in  Manu  against  the  destruction  of  seed.s,  the 
germs  of  life,  as  exemplified  in  the  complaints  made  against 
an  oil  press. f Why  any  seed  should  have  been  used  by  the 


See  before,  p.  141. 


I Manu,  iv.  8o. 


330 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


^ eg-etaiiaiis,  scrupulously  avoiding  com,  does  not  appear. 
The  dying  in  the  wilderness  without  the  care  of  friends 
may  liave  a reference  to  the  case  of  the  Vunaprasthas, 
whom  we  have  already  noticed  in  this  work. 

The  informers  of  Herodotus  respecting  India  were 
certainly  not  friendly  to  its  diversified  tribes  and  tongues, 
if  they  had  opportunities  of  actually  observing  their  social 
state.  “ All  the  tribes  I have  mentioned,”  he  says,  “ live 
together  like  the  brute  beasts,”  They  were  mistaken,  too, 
when  they  said  that  all  the  tribes  of  India  “ had  the  same 
lint  of  skin,  which  approaches  that  of  the  Ethiopians.” 
'rids  language  requires  to  be  very  considerably  qualified, 
even  when  it  is  applied  to  the  more  southern  tribes,  which 
Herodotus  must  have  heard  of  in  the  general,  for  he  adds, 
“ Their  country  is  a long  way  from  Persia  towards  tlie 
south,  nor  had  king  Darius  ever  any  authority  over  them,” 

We  have  thus  exhausted  the  general,  and  somewhat 
meaore,  notices  of  India  found  in  Herodotus.  Nothiuo' 
more  of  this  country  worthy  of  attention  was  learned  by 
the  Greeks  till  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  years  after 
Herodotus,  when  Alexander  the  Great,  in  his  attempt  to 
subdue  the  Persian  empire  to  the  dominion  of  Macedon, 
reached  its  northern  borders.  A great  flood  of  light 
was  doubtless  then  thrown  on  India,  revealing  its  pecu- 
liarities to  intelligent  inquirers ; but  it  has  been  oidy 
<limly  reflected  to  us  in  the  present  day.  The  body  of 
information  obtained  respecting  it  was  soon  lost  for  his- 
torical purposes.  The  letters  of  Alexander  himself,  sent 
from  its  borders,  which  are  sometimes  referred  to  by 
Pliny  and  Plutarch,  have  long  ago  disappeared,  while 
those  bearins:  his  name,  addressed  to  his  tutor  Aristotle, 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS. 


331 


])ear  evident  marks  of  forgery.  The  writings  of  Callls- 
thenes,  who  was  taken  to  the  East  by  Alexander  to  write 
In’s  history,  have  also  perished.  We  know  of  Clitarchns, 
another  of  Alexander’s  followers,  only  from  a few  refer- 
ences made  to  him  by  Plutarch  and  others.  Orthagoras, 
W'ho  is  said  to  have  written  nine  hooks  about  Indian  affairs, 
is  not  even  quoted  by  Alexander’s  historians.  Nearchns, 
the  admiral  of  Alexander’s  fleet,  wrote  a history  of  his  own 
movements ; hut  we  have  not  his  work  to  compare  it  Avitli 
the  charges  made  against  it  by  Strabo  in  his  Geograpliv, 
and  by  Arrian  in  his  Expedition  of  Alexander.  Arrian 
himself. — who  was  a disciple  of  Epictetus  and  flourished  in 
the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Adrian, — is  our  chief  authority 
respecting  the  observations  and  deeds  of  Alexander  and 
his  army  in  India,  though  interesting  gleanings  are  to  be 
got  from  Strabo,  Pliny,  Diodorus  Siculus,  and  others. 

Alexander’s  march  from  Bactria  to  the  Indus,  as 
described  by  Arrian,"'''  is  interesting  principally  in  a 
geographical  point  of  view.  Attempts  have  been  made, 
Avith  considerable  success,  to  reduce  the  names  of  places 
and  persons  ^ound  in  it  from  their  Greek  to  their  Indian 
forms.  The  result  warrants  the  application  to  the  Greek 
visitors  of  India  of  the  remark  made  by  professor  H.  H. 
Wilson  on  our  first  English  surveyors  and  geographers 
in  India  : — “ It  may  be  doubted  if  any  of  them  have  been 
conv-ersant  Avith  the  spoken  language  of  tlie  country  : 
they  have  consequently  put  doAvn  names  at  random, 
according  to  their  own  inaccurate  appreciation  of  sounds, 
carelessly,  vulgarly,  and  corruptly  uttered.”')'  For 

* Ari’iani  Expeditionis  libro  quarto,  et  seq. 

f Vislinu  Purana,  pp.  178-9.  '' 


332 


WHAT  CASTE  TS. 


example,  the  Greek (a  river)  is  the  Knhha  ; the 
Choe  is  the  Khonar ; and  the  Goraia  or  Goroeas  is  the 
Gduri.  The  Aspasii  are  probably  connected  with 
Ashvaka  ; Massiga  is  Mashakd  ; and  Peucolaitis  is 
PushkalavatV'  It  is  interesting  to'  notice  that  Alex- 
ander’s experience  of  the  courage  of  the  mountaineers  must 
liave  been  somewhat  similar  to  our  own.  “ The  Indians 
of  that  province,”  it  is  said,  “ far  excelled  all  the  otlier 
Indians  in  military  exploits  and,  after  a trial  of  tlieir 
mettle,  lie  was  glad  to  engage  them  as  mercenaries, 
though  he  soon  found,  “that  they  would  not  fight  against 
other  Indians.”  The  cattle  of  the  district  attracted  his 
particular  attention.  “ Alexander  chose  the  best  and 
largest  (of  them),  that  he  might  send  them  into  Macedonia 
for  a breed,  for  they  far  excelled  the  Grecian  cattle  both  in 
bulk  and  beauty.”!  “The  existence  of  the  vine  and  ivy  in 
the  country  and  probably  the  worship  of  Shiva,  the  God 
“of  increase,”  were  viewed  by  the  hero  and  his  companions 
as  an  indication  that  it  had  been  visited  by  Dionysus  (or 
Bacchus).  The  Greeks  were  perhaps  confirmed  in  their 
conjectures  about  this  matter  by  the  Indians,  in  Avhose 
o-enealoo-ical  tables  a Devanahvsha,  a divine  personaoe 
of  the  Lunar  race,  makes  an  early  appearance.  The 
Indians  begged  for  the  saving  of  their  city  Nysa,  alleging 

* To  no  person  are  we  more  indebted  for  a scientific  identification 
of  many  of  the  geographical  names  connected  with  the  Indian  move- 
ments of  Alexander  than  to  Professor  Lassen.  See  Indische  Alter- 
thumskunde,  ii.  p.  116,  et  seq. 

I Perhaps  the  bulk  and  beauty  of  some  of  the  breeds  of  Indian  cattle 
(with  their  prominently  developed  dewlaps  and  humps,  which  appear 
represented  on  the  oldest  coins,)  as  well  as  their  utility,  may  have  con- 
tributed to  their  deification  by  the  Brdhmans. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY'  BY  THE  GREEKS. 


333 


fliat  it  had  been  built  by  Dijauysus  ; and  they  got  off 
from  a demand  for  one  hundred  of  their  mao-istrates 

C5 

(tlieir  principal  Shets)  for  three  hundred  horses,  and  Alex- 
ander’s deference  to  Bacchus,  v hom  it  nas  his  desire  to 
excel  in  the  extent  of  his  conquests.  Arrian  well  under- 
stood the  pretences  which  were  made  on  both  sides  in 
this  case,  for  he  says,  that  “ The  things  which  the  ancients 
have  published  in  their  fables  concerning  the  Gods,  ouoht 
not  to  be  too  narrowly  searched  into  ; for  whenever  the 
truth  of  any  story  seemed  to  be  liable  to  be  called  in  ques- 
tion, some  God  w’as  immediately  summoned  to  iheir  aid, 
and  then  all  was  plain  and  immediately  swallowed.”  Mount 
Meru,  even,  was  summoned  to  give  testimony  for  Bacclms, 
its  name  sounding  like  that  of  the  Greek  word  Mjjpoc,-  (the 
upper  part  of  the  thigh),  which  fitted  in  with  the  western 
legend  that  Bacchus  had  been  shut  up  in  the  thigh  of 
Jupiter.  Connected  with  the  remarkable  rock  Aornos, 
Alexander  began  to  hear  of  the  alleged  exploits  of  a God 
(Krishna,  as  Ave  shall  afterwards  see),  whom  they  identified 
Avith  their  own  Hercules-  He  enjoyed  in  the  contiguous 
mountains  and  forests  an  elephant  hunt,  a fact  Avhich 
shoATS  the  wide  dispersion  of  that  gigantic  pacliydenn 
in  his  day. 

On  arriving  at  the  Indus,  probably  at  ATak,  Alexan- 
der received  presents  of  submission  from  Taxiles,  an 
Indian  prince,  so  called  from  an  Indian  town,  Talsha- 
shild,  to  Avhich  he  belonged.  This  prince  he  did  not 
deprive  of  his  territories  Avhen  he  reached  his  capital. 
On  the  contrary,  he  enlarged  them,  though  he  made 
Philip,  the  son  of  Machetas,  governor  of  the  province  in 
his  own  name.  Ale.xander’s  passage  of  the  Hydaspes, 


334 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


the  Vitasid  of  the  Indians,  was  opposed  by  the  patriotic 
and  valiant  Porus,  (or  Puras,)  who  probably  derived  his 
name  from  Pura  a city  in  general,  but  given  to  a 
capital  and  its  lord  in  this  district  by  way  of  distinction, 
according  to  a usage  prevailing  to  the  present  day.  This 
was  at  the  summer  solstice,  when  the  river  was  at  its  height, 
and  its  passage  was  effected  with  great  difficulty.  Much 
fighting  followed,  which  issued  in  the  defeat  of  Porus, 
the  death  of  his  two  sons  and  of  the  governor  of  the  pro- 
vince, and  the  infliction  of  wounds  on  hi.s  own  person. 
When  Porus  came  to  Alexander,  to  express  his  submis- 
sion, both  his  bearing  and  appearance  made  a deep  im- 
pression on  the  Macedonian  conqueror.  He  was  doubt- 
less an  excellent  representative  of  the  ancient  Indian 
Kshatri}ms,  or  Rulers. 

The  next  river  passed  by  Alexander  was  that  of  the 
Acesines,  the  Asikni  of  the  Hindus.  In  advance  he  came 
to  the  Hydrootes,  or  Rdv'i.  Here  he  heard  of  a confe- 
deration formed  against  him  by  certain  free  Indians  and 
Calhaei,  perhaps  a Scythian  tribe,  the  progenitors  of  the 
Kdfhis  of  Kdthiawdr  ; by  the  Oxydracce  and  MalU,  the 
inhabitants  of  Muldstliana,  or  Multan  of  later  times.  San- 
yala,  or  Shdkala,  near  Amritasar,  lay  on  his  way  to  the 
south-east.  He  was  fired  Avith  ambition  to  extend  his 
conquests  beyond  the  Hyphasis  or  Vipdsha  of  the  In- 
dians ; but  the  spirits  of  his  men,  with  the  monsoon 
storms  raging  around  them  and  poAverful  enemies  before 
them,  failing  them,  he  was  obliged  to  terminate  his  on- 
Avard  march  and  to  return  to  the  Hydaspes.  By  land, 
and  by  the  river,  his  forces  were  conveyed  to  the  junc- 
tion of  the  Hydaspes  and  Acesines,  and  afterwards  to 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  CHEEKS. 


335 


that  of  the  Acesines  and  Indus.  An  encounter  with  the 
Malli  and  the  taking  of  Multan,  which  nearly  cost  Alex- 
ander his  life,  were  the  incidents  of  this  part  of  his  journey. 
Tlie  identification  of  various  places  and  persons  visited, 
or  negociated  with,  by  his  army  on  the  Indus  is  not  a 
matter  of  difficulty.  The  Oxydracce  were  the  people  of 
Uch,  to  be  distinguished  from  the  Hijdracce,  the  originals 
of  the  Sliudras,  in  tlie  neighbouring  district;  and  the 
Abastani,  probably  AmbdAdhas,  whose  name  appears  in 
various  parts  of  India.  The  Xathri,  said  to  be  a free  people 
of  India,  were  doubtless  a tribe  under  the  government  of 
the  Kshatriyas.  The  Assadii  were  the  Vasdt'i.  Theland  of 
Alusicanits  was  near  the  present  Ladiaklidnd.  Sindomana, 
the  Sinhavan  of  the  Brahmans,  was  the  present  Sehwan, 
between  Upper  and  Lower  Sindh.  Paitcda  at  the  head 
of  the  Delta  of  the  Indus,  was  the  Pdtalipuri  of  the  Brah- 
mans, and  must  have  been  near  Haidarabad,  and  not  at 
Thatha  as  supposed  by  Principal  Robertson.*  It  is  not  an 
object  with  us  at  present  to  notice  the  perilous  jouraey  of 
Alexander’s  army  through  the  country  of  the  Gadrosi  and 
other  tribes,  and  through  Persia  to  the  banks  of  the  Eu- 
phrates. As  connected  with  India,  however,  we  may  notice 
the  fact  that  some  of  its  sages  adhered  to  him  during  this 
journey, even  eating  at  his  table  as  Calanus, — doubtless  an 
Indian  Kalydnah, — who  committed  voluntary  suicide  (or 
Kamyamarana,  forbidden  to  Brahmans  by  Manu)  ['  on  the 

* See  Author’s  Journal  of  a Missionary  Tour  in  Sindh,  in  the  O.  C.  S. 
1850,  p.  397. 

f See  before,  p.  2o.  Calanus  was  probably  a Bhiitta  or  Charana, 
a eulogist  attendant  upon  kings,  like  individuals  of  these  classes. 
^lanclanis  (S.  Mandana,  as  in  the  name  of  the  author  of  the  Amara 
Kosha)  was  his  companion. 


336 


WHAT  CASTE  IS, 


funeral  pile,  with  the  ultimate  assent  and  ca-operatioii  of 
Alexander  himself,  who  reckoned  his  death  the  crowning 
act  of  his  strange  philosophy. 

The  information  respecting  India  acquired  by  the  Alex- 
andrine invasion,  noAv  briefly  referred  to,  was  doubtless  very 
considerable  in  amount,  and  interesting  in  character.  Il 
Avas  surpassed,  however,  in  precision  and  importance  by 
that  acquired  by  Magasthenes,  to  the  fragments  of  whose 
writings,  as  quoted  by  Strabo,  Arrian,  and  others,  we  now 
turn  our  attention.'" 

The  original  position  of  Megasthenes  with  regard  to 
India  has  often  of  late  been  overlooked.  According  to  his 
own  statement,  found  in  Arrian,f  he  was  an  attache  to 
Svburtius,  governor  of  the  Arachosii,  Avho  inhabited  the 
Hamqaiti,  of  the  Parsis  (the  equivalent  of  the  Sanskrit 
JSarasvati ) in  eastern  Iran*]:  While  associated  Avith  Sa^- 

burtius  he  frequently  visited  Sandracottus  (or  Sandra- 
c>/})ti(s ) king  of  India,  Sandracyptus,  as  conjectured  by 
Sir  William  Jones,  aa^is  the  Chnndmgupta  of  the  Hindus, 
the  grandfather  of  the  Emperor  Ashoka,  the  great  patron 
of  the  Buddhists.  It  was  under  Seleucus,  the  successor  of 
Alexander,  aa'Iio  had  made  a treaty  AAith  him  about  portions 
of  territory  Avest  of  the  Indus,  that  Megasthenes  visited 
liis  court  at  his  capital  PalibotJira,  or  PdtaUputra,  at  the 
confluence  of  the  Eranohoas  (or  Shona)  and  Ganges,  near 
the  modern  Patna,  and  Avhich  he  assures  us  Avas  eighty 
furlono's  in  length  and  fifteen  in  breadth,  Avith  a ditch 
thirty  cubits  deep,  and  a Avail  AA'itli  five  hundred  and  seventy 

* These  have  been  collected  (but  not  translated)  by  Dr.  Schwanbeck, 
in  his  Megasthenis  Indica,  Bonn®,  184G. 

j Arriaui  lib.  v.  cap. 6.  f See  before,  p.  81. 


rEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  337 


lo\vers  and  sixt  y-four  gates.*  Tlie  discovery  of  a real  Indian 
(latum,  well  called  by  Dr.  Max  Muller  “the  sheet  anchor 
of  Indian  chronology,”  (the  only  date  which  promises  in  any 
good  degree  an  adjustment  of  any  portion  of  our  Indian 
genealogies),  is  the  consequence  of  this  recognition.  Justin  f 
tells  us  that  Sandracottus  had  seized  the  throne  of  India 
(from  tlie  last  of  the  Nandas,  it  appears  from  the  Indian 
account)  after  the  prefects  of  Alexander  had  been  murdur- 
ed  (317  B-  C.)  Seleucus  found  him  sovereign  of  India 
wlien,  after  the  taking  of  Babylon  and  the  conquest  of 
Bactria,  he  passed  on  to  India,  to  make  secure  arrangements 
with  its  emperor.  It  was  then  he  concluded  the  treaty 
with  him,  which  must  have  been  before  the  year  312,  for 
after  his  return  to  Babylon,  he  founded  the  era  which  bears 
his  own  name,  tlie  Seleucidan  era.  It  is  concluded  from 
this  that  Chandragupta  became  king  about  B.  C.  315.  It 
must  have  been  about  the  year  312  that  Megasthenes  first 
visited  his  court. ;{;  It  is  on  the  people  of  India  that  the 
information  which  he  communicates  to  us  principally  turns. 

Megasthenes,  as  is  well  known,  divides  the  pojiulation 
of  India  into  seven  principal  divisions  or  classes 
a word  which  does  not  necessarily  mean  Castes).  These 
are  those  of  the  Philosophers,  the  Agriculturists,  the 
Shepherds  and  Hunters,  the  Artizans,  Hucksters  and 
Bodily  Labourers,  the  Warriors,  the  Inspectors,  and  the 
Counsellors  and  Assessors  of  the  king.  Those  who  have 

* For  the  identification  of  Palibothra  and  Pataliputra,  we  are  indebted 
to  Major  Rennell.  Robertson’s  dissent  from  Reunell  (Note  xiv.  to  Dis- 
quisition) is  groundless. 

t Justin  XV-  4. 

I See  Max  Muller’s  Hist,  of  Sans.  Lit. 


4.1 


338 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


viewed  these  divisions  as  indicating  Castes,  looked  to  either 
from  a Brahmanical  or  a Buddhist  point  of  viesv,  have  been 
much  puzzled  with  this  classification,  for  it  is  really  not 
reconcilable  with  any  specific  classification  of  Castes  noticed 
anywhere  in  the  Indian  literature.  Tlie  classification,  it 
appears  to  me,  is  either  that  of  Megasthenes  himself,  or  of 
the  political  authorities  of  Palibothra  with  whom  he  came 
ill  contact.  After  referring  to  the  Philosophers,  as  in  a 
position  eutu’ely  peculiar,  it  rises  from  the  Husbandman, — 
wliom  he  views  with  much  regard, — to  the  Royal  Counsel- 
lors, next  in  authority  to  the  king  himself.  Notwithstand- 
ing this  peculiarity  of  the  classification  of  Megasthenes,  the 
inlormation  which  his  notices  of  the  classes  embraced  by 
him  atford  is  of  great  value,  and  throws  considerable 
light  even  on  the  Caste  system  prevalent  in  his  day.  It  is 
deserving  of  attention  in  all  its  details. 

1.  Of  the  Philosophers,  Megasthenes  thus  writes  (I 
{piote  from  him  as  cited  by  Strabo,*  who  is  more  copious 
in  his  quotations  than  Arrian) : — 

“ Among  the  classes,  the  first  in  honour,  though  in  num- 
ber the  smallest,  are  the  philosophers.  People  who  offer 
sacrifice  or  perform  any  sacred  rite  have  the  services  of 
those  persons  on  their  private  account ; but  the  kings 
employ  them  in  a public  capacity  at  the  time  of  what  is 
called  the  Great  Synod,  where  at  the  time  of  the  new  year 
all  the  philosophers  repair  to  the  king  at  the  gate,  and 
any  useful  thing  which  they  have  committed  to  writing,  or 
observed,  tending  to  improve  the  production  of  fruits  or  of 
animals,  or  of  advantage  to  the  order  of  the  state,  is  then 

* Strab.  Geog.  lib.  xv.  1.  et  seq. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  330 

publicly  set  forth.  And  whoever  has  been  detected  in  thrice 
<riving  hilse  information  is  enjoined  silence  by  law  for  the 
rest  of  his  life  ; but  he  who  has  made  correct  observations 
is  for  the  rest  of  his  life  exempted  from  cess  and  tribute.”* 
The  employment  of  the  philosophers  for  sacrifice  and 
domestic  religious  rites  has  a plain  reference  to  the  Brah- 
mans and  the  rites  which  they  were  accustomed  to  celebrate  ; 
while  the  conijreo'atino:  of  wise  men  in  annual  assemblies 
seems  to  point  to  arrangements  of  a Buddhist  character. 
The  observational  powers  of  the  Buddhist  mendicants, 
accustomed  to  visit  towns  and  villages  and  to  travel  throug^h 
the  country,  would  doubtless  be  greatly  developed  and 
improved  by  tbe  enlargement  of  their  experience,  while  the 
state  would  profit  by  their  annual  reports  of  discover3^  The 
arrangements  thus  acted  on,  however  humble  in  character, 
were  somewhat  similar  in  principle  to  those  of  the  British 
Association  in  our  own  da}%  when  there  are  exchanges  of 
congratulation  in  the  brotherhood  of  science,  and  when 
the  public  tenders  its  approbation  to  those  who  in  science 
and  practical  art  have  successfully  laboured  for  the  public 
good.  It  is  curious  to  observe  the  discipline  of  the  Indian 
assemblies,  embracing  both  punishments  and  rewards. 
Silence  for  life  for  false  reporters  and  incorrect  observers 
three  times  erring  (though  it  may  have  been  limited  to  a 
deprivation  merely  of  tbe  right  of  public  speech)  was  a 
heavy  punishment,  while  exemption  from  tax  and  triliute 
was  a great  boon  bestowed  on  the  lovers  of  truth  and 
accuracy.  This  exemption  was  a great  improvement  of 
the  laws,  afterwards  embodied  in  the  code  of  Mann,  ex- 
empting Brahmans  from  all  taxation.f 

f See  before,  p.  39. 


* Strab.  Geo.  lib.  xv.  1. 


340 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Megastlieiie.s,  I may  liere  mention,  in  connexion  with 
the  Pliilosophers,  refers  to  those  of  the  mountains  (prohahlv 
Avorshippers  of  the  mountain-god  Shiva,)  as  in  favom-  of  the 
alleged  visit  of  Bacchus  to  India.*  He  recognizes  the  in- 
hahitants  of  the  plains,  however,  as  addicted  to  the  Avorship 
of  Hercides.  This  so-called  “ Hercules”  was  undoubtedly 
the  Indian  Krishna,  whose  fabidous  achievements,  so  much 
resembling  those  of  Hercules,  were  about  this  time  brought 
to  notice,  while  his  worship  was  only  locally  prevalent 
“Hercides,”  Aviites  Arrian  on  the  authority  of  Megasthenes 
“the  Indians  tell  us  Avas  a native  of  their  country.  He  is 
particularly  Avorshipped  by  the  Suraseni  [the  Shurasenas  ol' 
the  Hindu  literature]  aa'Iio  have  two  great  cities  belonging 
to  them,  Methoras  [AAdiich  Ave  cannot  fail  to  identify  as 
Mathurd,  a favourite  residence  of  Krishna]  and  Kliso- 
horas,"  [probably  a corruption  of  the  name  Kris]inapura\ 
The  district  referred  to  is  evidently  that  of  the  legends  of  the 
Hindus  at  the  time  of  Megasthenes  respecting  Krishna,  a 
modern  god,  Avdiose  name  is  not  once  mentioned  in  the 
ancient  Vedas.  Megasthenes  adds  respecting  Hercules, 
evidently  liaAnng  Krishna  iu  his  eye,  that  “ he  took  many 
Avives,  and  begot  a great  number  of  sons,  though  hut  one 
daughter  whom  he  named  Pandcea,"'\  a name  in  which  Ave 
lind  an  indistinct  trace  of  the  Pandaya  dynasty  of  the 
Mahabharata.  Kri.sbna  was  only  a deifiedking,  Ai  hose  name 
appears  at  the  close  of  the  Yadii  branch  of  the  Lunar  race. 

In  treating  of  the  Philosophers,  Megasthenes  recognizes 
both  the  Brahmans  iiwd  the  Buddhist  Shramanas.X  “ i\Ie- 
gasthenes,”  says  Strabo,  “ divides  the  philosophers  into  two 
* Strab.  Geo.,  xv.  1.  58.  f Arr.  Hist.  In.  cap.  viii. 
i See  before,  p.  295. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  PY  THE  GREEKS.  3 il 


kinds,  the  Bn'ichmanes  imi\.  the  Gannaues*  The  Bracli- 
manes  are  lield  in  greater  repute,  for  they  agree  more 
exactly  in  tlieir  opinions.  Even  from  tlie  time  of  their 
conception  in  the  womb  they  are  under  the  care  and  guar- 
dianship of  learned  men,  who  go  to  the  mother,  and  seem 
to  perform  some  incantation  for  the  happiness  and  Avelfare 
of  the  mother  and  the  unborn  child,  but  in  reality  they 
suggest  prudent  advice,  and  the  mothers  who  listen  to 
them  most  ^villingly  are  thought  to  be  the  most  fortunate 
in  their  otfspiing.  After  the  birth  of  the  children,  there  is 
a succession  of  persons  who  have  the  care  of  them,  and  as 
they  advance  in  years,  masters  more  able  and  accomplished 
succeed.”t  The  Brahmans  he  here  sets  forth  as  of  greater 
repute  than  the  Shramanakas.  He  represents  them  as 
objects  of  care  from  their  very  conception,  having  probably 
received  some  indistinct  account  of  the  antenatal  Sanskdms, 
or  sacraments  of  the  Hindus . He  seems  to  have  been 
aware  of  the  formalities  of  their  tutelage  under  a succession 
of  teachers,  according  to  the  Hindu  institutes.  The  self- 
denial  of  these  philosophers  he  distinctly  notices,  “ The 
philosophers,”  he  says,  “ pass  their  time  in  a grove  of  moder- 
ate area,  living  upon  straw  pallets  and  on  skins,  abstain- 
ing from  animal  food,  and  from  sexual  intercourse  with 
women,  engaging  tliemselves  in  grave  discourses,  and 
communicating  with  those  inclined  to  listen  to  them.  But 
the  hearer  is  not  permitted  to  speak  or  to  cough,  or  even 
to  spit  on  the  ground  ; otherwise  he  is  expelled  that  very 
day  from  their  society,  as  having  no  control  over  himself. 
After  living  thirty-seven  years  in  this  manner,  each  retires 
Sarmanas,  Clem.  Alex.  Strom,  i.  305. 
t Strab.  Geog.  lib.  xv.  I.  59.  Falconer’s  Translation,  iii-  p-  109. 


342 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


to  his  own  property,  and  lives  with  less  restraint,  wearing' 
robes  of  fine  linen,  and  rings  of  gold,  hnt  without  pro- 
fusion on  the  hands  and  ears.  They  eat  the  flesh  of 
animals,  hnt  not  that  of  those  which  assist  man  in  his  labom’, 
and  abstain  from  pungent  and  seasoned  food.  They  practise 
polygamy  for  the  sake  of  abundant  offspring.  If  they  have 
no  servants,  they  supply  then-  place  by  their  own  childi'en, 
for  the  more  nearly  any  person  is  related  to  another,  the 
more  is  he  bound  to  attend  to  his  wants.”  Megasthenes 
seems  to  have  had  in  view  in  this  section  principally  the  third 
and  foiuTh  ashramas  of  the  Brahmans,  (of  which  the  fourth 
is  the  milder,)  though  he  concludes  it  by  a reference  to 
the  second,  that  of  the  Householder.*  The  Brahmans,  he 
goes  on  to  say,  (in  conformity  with  what  we  find  in  the 
Hindu  literature)  do  not  sufler  their  wives  to  attend  their 
philosophical  discourses.  The  reasons  alleged  by  him  for 
this  reserve  are  the  danger  of  the  divulgence  of  secrets, 
the  assertion  of  independence  by  instructed  females,  and 
their  desertion  of  their  husbands — reasonswhich,  vsdth  some, 
are  alleged  to  the  present  day  against  female  instruction. 

Of  the  doctrine  of  a futiu’e  state  as  taught  by  the 
Brahmans,  Megasthenes  had  but  partial  notions.  “ They 
discourse,”  he  says,  ‘•much  on  death,  for  it  is  their  opinion 
that  the  present  life  is  the  state  of  one  conceived  in  the 
womb,  and  that  death  to  philosophers  is  birth  to  a real  and 
happy  life.”  He  was  better  informed  about  the  non-recog- 
nition by  them,  under  certain  courses  of  teaching,  of  the 
absence  of  good  and  evil  in  the  accidents  of  life.  He 
rightly  speaks  of  many  of  their  notions  of  natural  pheno- 
mena heino'  founded  merelv  on  fables.  He  notices  the 

O V 

* See  before,  pp.  28-3u. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  343 


opinion  of  tlie  Brahmans  that  the  earth  is  spherical,  from 
which  it  would  appear  that  something  had  been  said  to  him 
of  the  Brahmanda,  or  egg  of  Brahma,  and  that  there  is  a 
fifth  element,  doubtless  the  akcislta  of  the  Indian  sages. 
The  “ most  honourable”  of  the  Garmanes, — whom  in  the 
gross  we  recognize  as  principally  the  Buddhist  Shra- 
manas, — he  declares  to  he  the  Hylohii.  The  word  Vdna- 
prasthdh  (“  dwellers  in  the  forest”)  is  the  literal  rendering 
of  Hylohii,  and  the  technical  designation  of  the  parties  in 
the  fourth  A'shrama  of  the  Brahmans  ; and  these  he  may 
have  erroneou.sly  classed  uitli  the  Buddhist  Shrarnanas^ 
more  particularly  as  they  had  not  a monopoly  of  this  name, 
though  it  was  applied  to  them  by  way  of  distinction. 

Of  the  Physicians  Megasthenes  thus  writes : — “ Second 
in  honour  to  the  Hylohii  are  the  Physicians ; for  they  apply 
philosophy  to  the  study  of  the  nature  of  man.  They  are 
of  frugal  habits,  but  do  not  live  in  the  fields,  and  subsist 
upon  rice  and  meal,  which  every  one  gives  when  asked, 
and  receives  them  hospitably,  ddiey  are  able  to  cause 
persons  to  liaA^e  a numerous  offspring  and  to  have  either 
male  or  female  children,  by  means  of  charms.  They  cure 
diseases  by  diet  rather  than  by  medicinal  remedies. 
Among  the  latter  the  most  in  repute  are  unguents  and 
cataplasms.  All  others  they  suppose  partake  greatly  of 
a noxious  nature.  Both  this  and  the  other  class  of 
persons  [the  Brahmanical  devotees  ?]  practise  fortitude  as 
well  in  supporting  active  toil  as  in  enduring  suffering,  so 
that  they  will  continue  a whole  day  in  the  same  posture, 
without  motion.  They  are  enchanters  and  diviners,  versed 
in  the  rites  and  customs  relative  to  the  dead,  who  go  about 
villages  and  towns  begging.  There  are  others  who  are 


314 


AVHAT  CASTE  IS. 


more  civilized  and  better  informed  than  these,  who  incul- 
cate tlie  vulgar  opinions  concerning  Hades,  whicli  according 
to  tlieir  idea  tend  to  piety  and  sanctity.  Women  study 
pliifosopliy  with  some  of  them,  abstaining  at  the  same 
time  from  sensual  connexions.”  This,  certainly,  mainly 
jqiplies  to  the  Buddhist  devotees  among  Avhom  were  females 
as  Avell  as  males.* 

JMegasthenes  further  correctly  mentions  that  self-des- 
truction is  not  a dogma  of  the  philosophers  (applicable 
to  themselves),  and  that  those  who  committed  the  act 
Avere  reckoned  fool-hardy. 

2.  Respecting  the  Husbandmen,  Megasthenes  says, 
“ The  second  class  is  that  of  the  Husbandmen,  who  are 
the  most  numerous  and  mildest,  as  they  are  exempted 
from  militaiy^  service  and  cultivate  their  land  free  from 
alarm.  They  do  not  resort  to  cities,  either  to  transact 
public  business,  or  take  part  in  public  tumults.  It  there- 
fore frequently  happens  that  at  the  same  time,  and  in 
the  same  part  of  the  country,  one  body  of  men  are  in 
battle  array,  and  engaged  in  contests  with  the  enemy, 
while  others  are  ploughing  or  digging  in  security,  leav- 
ing the  soldiers  to  protect  them.  The  whole  of  the  ter- 
ritory belongs  to  the  king.  They  cultivate  it  on  the 
terms  of  receiving  as  wages,  the  fourth  part  of  the  pro- 
duce.” This  deference  to  agricultural  pursuits  by 
the  Indians  in  times  of  AA’ar  has  more  or  less  continued 
to  the  present  time.  As  the  cultivation  of  the  land  is 
here  mentioned  as  a distinct  employment  and  separated 

* Clitarchus  had  probably  Buddhists  in  view  when  he  represents 
them  under  the  name  of  Pramnoe  as  opposed  to  the  Brachmanes. 
Strab.  Geo.  xv.  1.  70. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GKEEKS.  345 


from  the  reaving  of  cattle,  and  the  practice  of  merchan- 
dise associated  in  the  law-books  with  the  caste  privileges 
of  the  Vaislnja,  it  is  perhaps  not  erroneous  to  infer  tliat 
the  term  Vaish}’a  w'as  applied  to  parties  separately  fol- 
lowing either  of  these  occupations. 

3.  Respecting  thePasiors  and  Hunters,  our  informant 
writes  : — “ The  third  class  is  that  of  the  Pastors  and 
Hunters,  who  alone  are  permitted  to  hunt,  to  breed 
cattle,  to  sell  and  to  let  out  for  hire  beasts  of  burden. 
In  return  from  freeing  the  country  from  wild  beasts  and 
birds,  whicli  infest  sown  fields,  they  receive  an  allow- 
ance of  corn  from  the  king.  They  lead  a wandering 
life,  and  dwell  in  tents.  No  private  person  is  allowed 
to  keep  a horse  or  an  elephant.  The  possession  of  either 
one  or  the  other  is  a royal  privilege,  and  persons  are 
appointed  to  take  care  of  them.””"  The  distinction  of 
cowherds,  shepherds,  and  hunters,  from  other  portions 
of  the  Indian  population,  continues  to  the  present  day. 

4.  Of  the  Artizans,  Hucksters,  and  Labourers,  Megas- 
thenes  thus  writes  “ After  the  Hunters  and  the  Shep- 
herds, follows  the  fourth  class,  which  consists  of  the 
Artizans,  Hucksters,  and  Labourers.  Some  of  these 
pay  taxes  and  perform  certain  stated  services.  But  the 
Armour-makers  and  Sliip-builders  receive  wages  from 
the  king,  for  whom  only  they  work.  The  general-in- 
chief  furnishes  the  soldiers  with  arms,  and  the  admiral 
lets  out  ships  for  hire  to  those  who  undertake  voyages 
and  traffic  as  merchants.” 

* This  is  followed  by  an  account  of  the  taking  the  elephant,  partly 
correct  and  partly  inaccurate.  Our  author  also  repeats  the  story  of 
the  ants  and  the  gold-finding,  much  in  the  form  of  Herodotus. 

44 


346 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


5.  Of  the  Military,  he  saj^s:— “ The  fifth  class  consists 
of  fighting-  men  who  pass  tlie  time  not  employed  in  the 
field  in  idleness  and  drinking-,  and  are  maintained  at  the 
charge  of  the  king.  They  are  ready  whenever  they  are 
w^anted  to  march  on  an  expedition,  for  they  bring  nothing 
of  their  own  with  them  except  their  bodies.’’  These 
troops,  it  is  interesting  to  notice,  were  embodied  as  a 
standing  army.  It  is  not  apparent  that  in  caste  they  were 
necessarily  Kshatriyas.  They  seem  not  to  have  been 
much  troubled  with  what  the  Romans  reckoned  “ impedi- 
menta viae.” 

6.  Of  the  Inspectors,  he  says  : — “The  sixth  class  is 
that  of  the  Ephori  or  Inspectors.  They  are  intrusted  with 
the  superintendence  of  all  that  is  going  on;  and  it  is 
their  duty  to  report  privately  to  the  king.  The  city 
inspectors  employ  as  their  coadjutors  the  city  courtezans; 
and  the  inspectors  of  the  camp,  the  women  who  follow  it» 
The  best  and  the  most  faithful  persons  are  appointed  to 
the  office  of  inspector.”  All  this  may  be  correct.  It  is 
part  of  the  duty  of  a king,  as  laid  down  in  the  Law-books, 
to  deal  with  spies  and  emissaries  after  sunset.’-  Glimpses 
of  Inspectors  may  be  got  even  in  the  older  literature  of 
the  Indians.f 

7.  Of  the  Coimsellers  ajid  Assessors  of  the  kiny,  he 
says: — “ To  these  persons  belong  the  offices  of  state,  the 
tribunals  ofjustice,  andtbe  wholeadministration  of  affairs.” 
This  is  pretty  much  in  accordance  with  what  Manu  tells  us 
of  the  royal  counsellors.  In  connexion  with  this  part  of 

* See  before,  p.  41. 

•j-  See  some  correspondiug  designations  in  the  Puru.sha  Medha,  iit 
supra,  pp.  127-132. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS. 


347 


his  subject,  Megastlienes  brings  to  notice  two  of  the 
actual  principles  of  caste  : — “ It  is  not  permitted  to  con- 
tract marriage  with  a person  of  another  caste,*'"  nor  to 
change  from  one  profession  or  trade  to  another,  nor  for  the 
same  person  to  undertake  more  than  one,  except  he  is  of 
the  caste  of  pliilosophers,  when  permission  is  given  on 
account  of  his  dignity.” 

Returning  to  the  ruling  class,  Megasthenessays : — “Of 
the  Magistrates  some  have  the  charge  of  the 

market,  others  of  the  city,  others  of  the  soldiery.  Some 
have  the  care  of  the  rivers,  measure  the  land  as  in  Egypt, 
and  inspect  the  closed  reservoirs  from  which  water  is  distri- 
buted by  canals,  so  that  all  may  have  an  equal  use  of  it. 
These  persons  have  the  charge  also  of  the  hunters,  and 
have  the  power  of  rewarding  or  punishing  those  who  merit 
either.  They  collect  the  taxes,  and  superintend  the  occu- 
pations connected  with  land,  as  woodcutters,  carpenters, 
workers  in  brass,  and  miners.  They  superintend  the  public 
roads  and  place  a pillar  at  every  ten  stadia,  to  indicate  the 
bye- ways  and  distances.”  In  all  this  there  is  pleasing 
testimony  to  advancement  in  economic  civilization. 

The  most  curious  arrangements  noticed  by  Megas- 
thenes,  in  this  connexion,  respect  the  governors  of  citie.s. 
He  tells  us  they  are  divided  into  six  Pentads  (panchakas), 
Cornmittees-of-live,  with  very  special  duties  attached  to 
each  pentad.  The  first  pentad  superintended  the  fabri- 
cative  operations,  being  a sort  of  Committee  of  Public 
Works.  The  second  had  charge  of  the  relief  of  strangers, 
the  burial  of  the  friendless  dead,  and  the  care  of  their 

* Fevgcj  the  Avord  Avliich  at  p.  13  of  this  work  is  used  as  the  Greek 
equivalent  of  jdtl.  The  word  above  translated  “ class”  is  iiioog. 


348 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


property.  The  tliird  took  cognizance  of  birtlis  and 
deaths,  with  a view  to  revenue  purpo.ses,  which  may 
explain  the  aversion  of  the  natives  of  India  to  statistical 
inquiries.  The  fourth  discharged  the  duties  of  the  Bazar- 
masters,  attending’  to  weights  and  measures,  and  doubling 
the  tax  when  the  shopkeeper  dealt  in  a variety  of  articles. 
The  fifth  took  cognizance  of  manufactured  articles  and 
their  sale,  distinguishing  old  articles  from  new  ones. 
The  sixth  collected  the  tenth  of  the  price  of  the  articles 
sold,  inflicting  death  on  parties  guilty  of  fraud  in  this 
matter.  This  division  of  labour  did  not  supersede  the 
common  consultation  and  responsibility  of  the  general 
bod}'-  of  the  pentads. 

An  equally  minute  division  of  labour  was  apparent  in 
connexion  with  the  management  of  military  affairs,  con- 
nected with  which  there  were  also  si.x  Pentads.  The 
first  of  these  acted  under  the  naval  superintendent,  and 
its  members  were  consequent!}^  miniature  Lords  of  the 
Admiralty.  The  second  managed  the  Commissariate  and 
Transit  Department,  under  a president,  having  charge  of 
the  bullock-trains  for  the  military  engines,  baggage, 
instruments  of  music,  grooms,  mechanists,  and  foragers, 
whom  they  rewarded  or  punished  according  to  their 
deserts.  The  third  had  charge  of  the  infantry ; the  fourth, 
of  the  horses  ; tlie  fifth,  of  the  chariots  ; the  sixth,  of  the 
elephants.  In  connexion  with  the  notice  of  tliese  arrange- 
ments, Megasthenes  makes  the  following  precise  state- 
ments:— “There  are  roval  stables  for  the  horses  and 
elephants.  Tiiere  is  also  a royal  magazine  of  arms  ; for 
the  soldier  returns  his  arms  to  the  armourv,  and  the 
horse  and  elephant  to  the  stables.  They  use  the  elephants 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  340 


williout  bridles.  The  chariots  are  drawn  on  the  inarch 
by  oxen.  The  liorses  are  led  by  a halter,  in  order  that 
their  legs  may  not  be  chafed  and  inflamed,  nor  their  spirit 
damped  by  drawing  chariots.  Besides  the  charioteer, 
there  are  two  persons  who  fight  by  his  side  in  the  chariot. 
With  the  elephant  are  four  persons,  the  driver  and  three 
bowmen,  wlio  discharge  arrows  from  his  back.” 

These  details  all  bear  witness  to  what  we  have  often 
noticed,  the  division  of  labour  among  the  ancient  Indians, 
and  show  the  existence  in  tlie  time  of  Megasthenes  of 
parties  with  designations  similar  to  those  contained  in  the 
lists  already  introduced  into  this  work. 

Several  miscellaneous  notices  of  the  Indian  people, 
bearing  on  the  social  state  of  the  Indians,  are  introduced 
by  Strabo  and  Arrian  on  the  authority  of  Megastlienes 
in  a somewhat  digressional  form.  The  whole  country 
of  India  was  divided,  it  is  said,  into  a hundred  and 
twenty-two  nations,  an  estimate  probably  not  below  the 
truth.  The  people  were  frugal  in  their  mode  of  life, 
using  no  wine  except  in  sacrifices  (the  reference  is  pro- 
bably to  the  Soma),  and  their  food  being  principally  of 
rice.  They  were  fond  of  ablutions  and  unctions  ; of  the 
frictional  rubbing  of  the  body  ; and  of  ornaments  of  the 
])recious  stones  and  metals.  They  were  remarkable  for 
their  regard  for  truth  ; their  polygamous  alliances, 
eflected  through  purchase  and  favour ; their  tolerance  of 
professional  whoredom  ; their  early  marriages  in  the  case 
of  girls,  who  might  be  espoused  when  seven  years  old; 
their  sacrificing  with  their  heads  uncovered  ; their  killing 
animals  by  suflbcation,  in  order  to  avoid  bloodshed  ; 
their  punishing  crimes  by  maiming  (as  enjoined  in  the 


350 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Law-books)  ; their  care  of  the  persons  of  the  kings  by 
slave-girls ; their  demands  on  kings  for  labour  and 
recreation  during  the  day  ; and  other  customs  known  to 
be  consistent  with  Indian  histoiy.  They  are  spoken  of  as 
ignorant  of  letters,  or  writing  ; and  as  conducting  public 
business  memoriter,  without  an  accessible  body  of  law, 
and  without  the  use  of  seals.  This  may  have  been  really 
the  case  with  the  body  of  the  Indians  in  the  time  of 
Megasthenes,  for  the  oldest  known  form  of  the  Indian 
alphabets  bears  evidence  of  a Grecian  and  Phenician  origin, 
and  was  not  unlikely  devised  after  the  invasion  of  Alex- 
ander the  Great.* 

Megasthenes  is  accused  of  deviating  into  fables  when 
he  speaks  of  Indian  dwarfish  races  of  five  or  three  spans 
in  height,  and  without  nostrils,  but  with  breathing  ori- 
fices about  the  mouth  ; of  Enocoitoe,  who  slept  on  their 
ears  which  hung  down  to  their  feet ; of  tribes  witli  heels 
in  front,  and  instep  and  toes  turned  back  ; of  Ocypadoe, 
so  swift  of  foot  that  they  left  horses  behind  them  ; of 
JMonomati,  who  had  only  one  eye  placed  in  the  middle 
of  the  forehead,  with  hair  erect  and  shaggy  breasts ; of 
Amyctei’es,  without  nostrils,  with  the  upper  part  of  the 
lips  projecting  ; and  of  various  other  curious  and  hideous 
monsters.  The  absurdity  of  his  narrative  in  regard 
to  these  matters  needs  no  exposure  ; but  it  is  interesting 

* Clitarchus,  as  Avell  as  Megasthenes,  testified  to  the  Indian  ignor- 
ance of  writing.  On  the  probable  non-use  of  literal  writing  among 
the  ancient  Indians,  see  notice  by  the  author  in  “ India  Three 
Thousand  Years  Ago,”  pp  31-36  ; and  more  particular!}^  Max  Muller’s 
Hist,  of  Sans.  Lit.  pp.  500-524,  compared  with  Goldstucker’s  Intro- 
duction to  the  Manava  Sutras,  pp.  15-67. 


I 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  351 

to  know  that  the  more  uncivilized  tribes  of  India  are 
characterized  in  this  strange  manner  even  in  tlie  classical 
Hindu  literature.  Professor  H.  H.  Wilson,  when  quoting 
from  the  Mahabliarata  the  dig-vijaya  of  the  Bhishma 
Parva,  inserts  the  following  note,  on  the  mention  of  the 
people  called  Naikaprishljias  (having-more-than-one- 
back)  “ probably  some  nickname  or  term  of  derision” 

“ Thus  we  have  in  the  Ramayana  and  other  works,  enu- 
merated amongst  tribes,  the  Karnapravaranas,  those  who 
wrap  themselves  up  in  their  ears  ; AshtJia-karnakas,  the 
eight-eared  ; or  Oshtha-karnakas,  having  lips  extending 
to  their  ears  ; Kakarnukhas,  crow-faced  ; E' kapaclukas, 
one-footed,  or  rather  one-slippered  : exaggerations  of  na- 
tional ugliness,  or  allusions  to  peculiar  customs,  which 
were  not  literail}'^  intended,  although  they  may  have 
furnished  the  Mandevilles  of  ancient  and  modern  times 
with  some  of  their  monsters.”*  Even  in  the  Vedas, 
human  monsters  are  alleged  to  exist.t 

An  interesting  portion  of  the  fragments  of  Megasthenes 
is  that  which  refers  to  the  Indian  genealogies.  It  is 
difficult  to  identify  the  few  Indian  names  which  he  indi- 
cates. Yet,  with  Lassen  and  others,  all  Indian  scholars 
must  see  Svayamhhuva  (the  self-existent)  in  his  Spar- 
tembas ; Buddha,  in  his  Budyas;  Pururavas,  in  his 
Frareuas,  supposed  to  have  been  written  for  Kradeuas — 
the  present  reading.  His  names,  with  the  exception 
perhaps  of  the  last,  are  those  of  divinities  heading  the 

♦ Wilson’s  Vislinu  Parana,  p.  187.  See,  also,  on  the  names  of  the 
Indian  monstrous  people  Schwanbeck’s  Megasthenis  Tndica,  pp.  6 4,  et  seq. 

I See  before,  p.  96. 


352 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


genealogies,  partly  of  tlie  Solar  and  partly  of  the  Lunar 
Dynasties,  confounded  by  him  together.  Megasthenes 
says  that  the  Indians  reckon  from  Bacchus  (whom  they 
made  the  contemporary  of  Spartembas)  one  hundred  and 
fifty-three  kings,  reigning  during  the  space  of  six 
thousand  and  forty-two  years.  The  statement  agrees 
with  none  of  the  genealogical  lists  possessed  by  the 
Hindus,  even  when  they  are  viewed  as  including  their 
fabulous  personages.  The  only  safe  conclusion  is,  that 
genealogical  lists  were  actually  recited  by  the  natives  at 
the  time  of  his  visit  to  India.  We  get  no  chronological 
help  from  him,  except  in  the  mention  of  the  name  of 
Sandracottus  (Chandragupta),  which  affords  us  the  valu- 
able historical  datum  already  alluded  to. 

We  have  before  noticed  the  fact  that  the  Greeks  con- 
founded Shiva  and  Krislma  with  Bacchus  and  Hercules, 
in  the  concept  and  legends  of  whom  there  is  certainly 
some  analogy.  They  were  nearer  the  truth,  when,  as 
Strabo  sa}"s,  they  related  that  the  Indians  worsliipped 
Jupiter  Ombrius,  the  river  Ganges,  and  the  indigenous 
deities  of  the  country.*  In  Jupiter  Ombrius  we  doubt- 
less find  the  Indian  Indra,  by  whose  influence  it  was  sup- 
posed the  clouds  shed  down  their  watery  treasures.  Indra 
was  worshipped  of  old  by  all  classes  of  the  Indians,  though 
he  was  reckoned  the  special  deity  of  the  Kshatriyas. 

It  must  be  apparent  from*  the  notices  now  given,  that 
thouoh  the  Greek  accounts  of  India  are,  from  the  form  in 
which  they  have  reached  us,  not  all  that  could  be  desired, 

* Strab.  Geog.  xv.  1.  69.  I have  throughout  this  chapter  referred 
to  Megasthenes,  as  quoted  in  this  chapter  of  Strabo,  and  in  Arrian’s 
Indian  History,  chapters  vi-xvi. 


PEEP  AT  INDIAN  SOCIETY  BY  THE  GREEKS.  353 


tliey  are  really  of  a valuable  and  interesting  character, 
from  the  light  which  they  cast  on  the  social  state  of  the 
Indians  at  the  times  of  which  they  treat.  They  afford 
no  ju’oof,  however,  that  the  Greeks  recognized  their  rela- 
tionship to  the  ruling  tribes  of  India,  or  discovered  the 
fact  that  the  Greek  and  Sanskrit  are  cognate  lanouao-es. 
Thev  became  known  to  the  Indians,  under  the  name  of 
Yavauas  (Twvee),  by^  wdiich  the  Greco- Bactrians  were 
afterwards  distinguished.  By  the  Greco-Bactrian,  Greco- 
Indian,  Indo-Scythian  and  Parthian  Kings,  whose 
coins  have  of  late  years  been  brought  to  light,  and  whose  , 
dominions  extended  to  the  northern  provinces  of  India, 
important  local  modifications  were  doubtless  made  in 
Indian  caste  and  customs  ; but  of  these  no  historical  no- 
tices are  to  be  found.  India  became  greatly  indebted  to 
Bactrian  art,  the  indications  of  which  are  not  wanting  in 
the  Buddhist  remains  of  Western  India  ; and  this  obliga- 
tion  would  not  be  unnoticed  by  the  hereditary  limners, 
painters,  sculptors,  and  architects  of  India,  and  by  those, 
who,  under  the  Buddhist  relaxation  of  Caste,  felt  at  liberty 
to  adopt  occupations  suited  to  their  own  genius  and 
inclinations. 

It  may  be  here  mentioned,  though  by  anticipation, 
that  our  obligations  to  Claudius  Ptole:ny  of  Alexandria 
(of  the  second  centuiy  after  Christ)  for  the  identification 
and  localization  of  many  of  the  peoples  and  tribes  of  India 
are  great  indeed.  A few  of  these  identifications  and 
localizations  have  been  already  incidentally  referred  to  in 
the  preceding  pages.*  Others  of  them  will  be  noticed 
when  I review  the  Hindu  Castes  as  they  at  present  exist. 

* See  before,  pp.  55,  57,  111,  155,  170,  227. 

45 


354 


AVIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


IX. — Caste  in  the  Law-Books  and  L.\ter  Indian 

Literature. 

Both  the  Smartta  Sutras  (or  Sutras  founded  on  the 
Smriti  or  “ what  is  remembered”)  and  the  Smritis 
themselves  having  the  same  origin,  form  what  are  called 
the  Hindu  Dharmashdstras,*  or  Law-Books.  They  do 
not  claim  an  origin  similar  to  that  of  the  Vedas  or  even 
that  of  the  Brahmanas,  A'ranyakas,  Upanishads,  and 
Shrauta  Sutras,  associated  with  the  Vedas,  to  which  we 
have  already  appealed.  Yet  their  authority  is  scarcely 
of  a secondary  character.  They  are  practically  all-pre- 
valent in  the  Indian  community.  The  more  ancient  of 
them  contain  the  record  of  the  laws  and  customs  held  to 
have  been  long  current  in  the  Indian  communit}^  and 
learned  either  by  simple  tradition,  or  from  interpretations 
made  of  Vedic  works,  by  supposed  Bislns  in  whose 
behalf  it  is  asserted  that  thei'^  were  perfect  from  their 
birth,  and  possessed  of  divine  vision.  It  is  generally 
maintained  by  the  Hindus  that  Vedic  authority  is  wanting 
to  them  in  any  respect,  only  because  portions  of  the 
Vedic  works,  ( Brahmanas  and  Sutras)  on  which  they  were 
originally  founded,  have  altogether  perished.  They  are 
written  in  shlokas,  a peculiar  versification,  or  “ measured 
prose”  as  it  is  denominated  by  Sir  William  Jones,  but 
are  not  poetical  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  term.  More 
comments  have  been  written  upon  them,  and  digests 
made  of  them,  than  in  the  case  of  any  other  Indian 
writings.  The  personal,  and  social,  and  civil,  and  religious 

From  Dhdrma,  law,  and  shdstra,  institute. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


355 


affairs  of  tlie  Hindus  liave  been  conducted  accordins:  to 
them  for  many  generations.  They  are  held  to  be  superior 
in  authority  both  to  the  two  works  of  Itihasa  (the  Ea- 
mayana  and  Mahabliarata)  and  to  the  Eighteen  Puranas. 

The  Hindus  of  Western  India  speak  of  Eighteen  Smritis 
and  Eighteen  Upasmritis.  The  classifications  of  them 
under  these  heads,  however,  do  not  agree.  The  following 
is  an  alphabetical  list  of  the  best-known  Smritis  without 
reference  to  this  distinction  : — 

1.  Atri,  of  115  Shlokas,  treating  cf  Dana  (largesses 
to  Brahmans)  and  Penances. 

2.  Angiras,  of  165  Shlokas,  treating  of  ceremonial 
Defilement  and  Penances. 

3.  A'paslcmha,  of  200  Shlokas.  This  work  is  very 
similar  to  that  of  Ano  iras. 

O 

4.  A'shvalayami,  of  about  1000  Shlokas,  treating  of 
the  Daily  Ceremonies  of  the  Brahmans,  the  Sixteen 
Sanskaras,  the  Shraddhas,  the  Daily  Homa,  the  general 
Duties  of  the  Castes  (treated  of  as  in  other. parts  of  this 
work),  and  the  Death  Ceremonies. 

5.  Baudhayana,  of  1 100  Shlokas,  treating  of  Purity 
and  Impurity,  and  Atonements. 

6.  BhdraJvaja.  This  work  is  now  very  rare. 

7.  Brihaspoti,  of  50  Shlokas,  treating  of  Dana. 

8.  Budho,  of  22  Shlokas,  treating  of  the  Sanskaras, 
and  the  Duties  of  the  four  Principal  Castes. 

9.  Dalcuha,  of  150  Shlokas,  treating  of  the  four  Brah- 
manical  Ashramas,  and  of  Daily  Ceremonies  and  Duties. 

10.  Devala,  of  90  Shlokas,  treating  of  the  four  Prin- 
cipal Castes,  their  Daily  Duties,  Defilement,  Purification, 
and  Penance. 


WPIAT  CASTE  IS. 


11  Gautama,  of  about  450  Slilokas,  treatino'  of  the 
♦Sanskaras,  the  relative  Position  and  Duties  of  the  four 
Castes,  Funeral  Ceremonies,  and  Penance. 

12.  Harita,  of  about  125  Shlokas,  treating  of  Pe- 
nance and  Funeral  Ceremonies- 

1-3.  JdbaU. 

14.  Jaimini. 

1 5.  Jamadagni. 

16.  Kashyaj)a. 

17.  occupying  twelve  leaves  in  Calcutta 
edition  in  Beno-ali  character.* 

O 

18.  Kauskald,  of  about  300  Shlokas,  treatino-  of 
Dosha  (stains)  and  Penance. 

19.  KoJiila,  of  306  Shlokas,  treating  of  Shraddhas 

20.  LauydksM. 

21.  Likhita,  of  about  100  Shlokas;  treating  of  Daua^ 
Penance,  and  Funeral  Ceremonies. 

22.  Manu,  of  2685  Shlokas,  as  counted  by  Sir  William 
.Tones.  The  following  is  its  own  summary  of  contents  — 

The  Creation  of  the  World,  Laws  of  the  Sanskaras,  Observ- 
ances, Ablutions,  Marriage,  the  great  Sacrifices,  Funeial 
Ceremonies,  Occupations,  Family  Rules,  Things  to  be  Ate 
andnot-Ate,  Defilements,  Purifications  (of  men)  audUtensils, 
tbe  Duty  of  Women,  the  Practice  of  the  Yoga,  Tapa, 
Moksha,  and  Sanyasa,  the  Duty  of  Kings,  Decision  of 
Cases,  Taking  of  Evidence,  and  Examination,  Law  of 
Husband  and  AVife,  Inheritance,  Gambling,  Punishment 
of  Criminals,  the  A'chara  (or  Dutiful  Walk)  of  Vaishyas 
aud  Shudras,  Origin  of  the  Mixed  Castes,  the  Duties  of  all 
Classes  in  times  of  Distress,  Rules  of  Penance,  Escape 
* See  Bibl.  Sansk.  of  Gildemeister,  p.  127. 


CASTE  IX  TflE  EAW-BOOKS. 


357 


from  Worldly  Connexion,  Enjoyment  of  the  three  kinds  of 
Emits  of  Works,  Liberation,  the  Knowledge  of  Good  and 
Evil,  the  Duties  owed  to  One’s  Country,  to  One’s  Caste,  to 
One’s  Family,  Heretics,  and  Companies  of  Traders).* 

23.  Narayana. 

24.  Pardshara,  of  3,300  Shlokas,  treating  (after  the 
Upodghdta,  or  Introduction)  of  the  Daily  Ceremonies, 
the  Four  Ashramas,  Sacrifice,  Marriage,  Funeral  Cere- 
monies, Purity  and  Impurity,  Penance,  Toucli,  Eatables 
and  Non-Eatahles,  Largesses,  Rendering  of  the  Planets, 
Houses,  Temples,  etc.  Propitious,  Duties  of  Kings.  This 
Smriti  also  appears  in  an  abridged  form,  of  541  Shlokas. 

25.  The  Prajdpati  or  Brahmd,  of  200  Shlokas, 
treating  of  the  ordinances  for  Shraddhas. 

26.  Sanvarttaka,  of  216  Shlokas,  treating  of  the 
Daily  Ceremonies,  Largesses,  the  Castes,  the  A'shramas,^ 
and  Penances. 

27.  Shdtdtapa,  of  200  Shlokas,  treating  of  Penance. 

28.  Shaunaka,  of  204  Shlokas,  treating  of  Sacrifice. 

29.  Shankha,  of  200  Shlokas,  treating  of  Deeds  that 
are  Right  or  Wrong  {Dliarmddharma),  Purity  and  Im- 
purity, Daily  Ceremonies,  and  Funeral  Ceremonies. 

* Manusmriti,  i.  111-118.  The  contents  of  the  twelve  chapters  are 
thus  expressed  by  Sir  William  Jones.  I.  On  the  Creation;  with  a 
Summary  of  the  Contents.  II.  On  Education ; or  on  the  First  Order. 
III.  On  Mandage ; or  on  the  Second  Order.  IV.  On  Economicks,  and 
Private  Morals.  V.  On  Diet,  Purification,  and  Women.  VI.  On 
Devotion  ; or  on  the  Third  and  Fourth  Orders.  VII.  On  Government ; 
or  on  the  Military  Class.  VIII.  On  Judicature;  and  on  Law,  Private 
and  Criminal.  IX.  On  the  Commercial  and  .Servile  Classes.  X.  On 
the  Mixed  Classes,  and  on  Times  of  Distress.  XI.  On  Penance  and 
Expiation.  XII.  On  Transmigration  and  final  Beatitude. 


35S 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


30.  Ushana,  of  150  Shlokas,  treating  of  Purity  and 
Impurity,  the  Castes,  Funeral  Ceremonies,  Buying’  and 
Selling,  and  Penance. 

31.  V am  ana. 

32.  Vashishtha,  a favourite  of  the  Vai.<hnavas,  whom 
it  supports  from  a sectarial  point  of  view. 

33.  Vishnu.  Of  this  I have  seen  only  the  Laghu,  or 
abridged  form,  which  consists  only  of  110  Shlokas, 
treating  of  the  Sacraments,  A'shramas,  and  Castes. 

34.  Vriddhashdtdlapa. 

35.  Vydsa,  of  84  Shlokas,  treating  of  the  Castes, 
A'shramas,  and  Largesses. 

36.  Ydjnavalhja,  of  1200  Shlokas.  The  first  Divi- 
sion of  this  work,  entitled  A'charadhyaya,  (the  A'chara 
chapter)  contains  thirteen  sections,  treating  of  Introduc- 
tory Matters,  Pupilage,  Marriage,  the  Castes,  the  Duties 
of  a Householder,  the  Duties  of  the  state  intervening 
between  Pupilage  and  Marriage,  Food  permitted  and  for- 
bidden, Purification,  Largesses,  Funeral  Ceremonies,  the 
Worship  of  Ganapati,  Propitiating  the  Planets,  etc.,  the 
Duty  of  Kings.  The  second,  entitled  the  Vyavahara- 
dhyaya,  contains  twenty-three  sections,  treating  of  Intro- 
ductory Matters,  Pay  raent  of  Debts,  Oral  Evidence,  Written 
Evidence,  Trial  Ordeal,  Partition  of  Heritage,  Boun- 
dary Disputes  between  Master  and  Servant,  Sale  of  what 
has  no  Owner,  Reversal  of  Gifts,  Repenting  of  Sale  or 
Purchase,  Service  by  Contract,  Opposition  to  Customs  or 
Bye-Laws,  Non-payment  of  Wages,  Gambling,  Abuse  by 
Speech,  Assaults,  Violence,  Reversal  of  Sale,  Partnership, 
Theft  and  Robbery,  Fornication  and  Adultery,  Miscel- 
lanies. The  third,  entitled  the  Prayashchitadhaya,  treats  of 


I 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS.  359 

the  Atonements  for  Impurity,  for  Compromises  in  Times 
of  Difficulty,  for  a Vanaprastha,  for  a Parivraja,  for  Com- 
promises incase  of  Disease, for  killing  Brahmans,  for  killing 
Cows,  for  various  kinds  of  Slaughter,  for  Spirit-drinking, 
for  Theft,  for  breaking  Caste,  for  Debauchery  of  Women, 
for  Eating  at  Funeral  Ceremonies,  for  Inferior  Sins,  for 
Eatino- Thinofs  forbidden,  for  Wearing  Blue  Clothino;,  etc. 

It  will  be  observed,  on  looking  to  this  list,  that  most  of 
these  Smritis  are  exceedingly  brief  Some  of  them  appear 

to  me  to  he  made  up  of  the  collected  quotations  ascribed  to 
their  respective  authors,  and  not  to  be  distinctive  works, 
forming  either  individual  treatises,  or  a Code  of  Laws. 
As  to  an  arrangement  of  them,  founded  either  upon  their 
age  or  matter,  the  Hindus  are  not  agreed.  Vijnaneshvara, 
the  aiithor  of  the  great  commentary  on  Yajnavalkya, 
mentions  twenty-four  of  them  in  the  following  order  : — • 
Mann,  Atri,  Vi.shnu,  Harita,  Yajnavalkya,  Ushana, 
Angira,  Yama,  A'pastamba,  Sanvartta,  Katyayana, 
Brihaspati,  Parashara,  Vyasa,  Shankha,  Likhita,  Daksha, 
Gautama,  Shatatapa,  and  Vasi.shtha.*  He  does  not, 
however,  consider  this  list  exhaustive. 

* Mitakshara,  i.  1.  (p.  2,  Cal.  Ed.  of  1813).  Nilakanpia  Bhatta 
(in  tlie  Sanskara  Maynklia  1.  p.  1.)  after  quoting  this  list  of 
twenty-one  authors  of  Smritis  gives  the  following  other  list  on 
the  authority  of  Paithina  ; — Manu,  Angira,  Vyasa,  Gautama,  Atri, 
Ushana,  Yama,  Vasishtha,  Daksha,  Sanvartta,  Shatatapa,  Para- 
shara, Vishnu,  A'pastamba,  Harita,  Shankha.  Katyayana,  Guru  (alias 
Brihaspati),  '^'Prafheta,  *Narada,  *Yogi,  Baudhayana,  Pitamaha 
(alias  Brahma  orPrajapati),Subantu,  Kashyapa,  *Babhru,  ••'Paithina, 
*Vyaghra,  '•  Satyavrata,  Bhiiradvaja,  *Girgya,  Katyayana  (name  re- 
peated in  the  MS.),  Jabdli,  Jamadagni,  Laugakshi,  ^Brahmasanbhava. 
To  the  Smritis  in  this  list  not  mentioned  above,  I have  prefixed  an 
asterisk.  Nilakantha  gives  the  preference  to  Manu  of  all  the  Smritis. 


3G0 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Copies  of  the  minor  Smritis  are  now  rather  rare,  tlie 
Hindus  being  generally  satisfied  with  the  references  made 
to  them  in  their  Digests  of  Loav.  The  folloAving  is  the 
substance  of  that  of  Angir  'a.  It  treats  of  A’arious  Penances 

for  Caste  and  other  otfences,  and  is  intimately  con- 
nected with  the  subject  of  Caste  under  onr  notice. 

Repeat  the  Penances  (prescribed)  in  the  case  of  the  A’shramas,  and 
all  the  Varnas.  A Brahman  drinking  out  of  the  vessel  or  well  of  a 
Chandala  is  to  perform  the  Santapana  ;*  the  Kshatriya,  the  Prajapatya ; f 
the  Vaishya,  half  the  atonement  of  the  Kshatriya  ; and  the  Shudra,  the 
half  of  that  of  the  Vaishya.  The  water  of  a Chandila  oirght  to  be  out- 
vomited  by  these  classes  as  soon  as  swallowed,  and  the  Prajapatya 
Penance  performed.  If  the  water  has  remained  for  some  time  in  the 
stomach,  the  Brahman  has  to  perform  the  Krichchhra,|  and  Santapana. 
If  water  from  the  vessel  of  a Chandala  be  drunk  in  consequence  of 
thirst,  cow's  urine  must  be  drunk  for  three  days.  If  any  Dvija  (twice- 
born)  person  [a  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  or  Vaishya]  do  not  wash  his 
hands  after  relieving  nature,  after  eating,  or  after  touching  a dog,  he 
has  to  bathe  and  twice  repeat  the  Gayatri.  If  a Brahman  drink  of  a 
well  polluted  by  ordure,  he  has  to  perform  the  Krichchhra  and  San- 
tapana, for  three  days.  A person  vdio  looks  on  or  touches  a crane,  a 
Bhiisa,§  a vulture,  a rat,  an  ass,  a Baka,||  a jackal,  a sow,  has  to  per- 
form three  A'chamauas  [thrice  to  sip  water  and  spurt  it  out.].  If  a 
Brahman  eat  of  these  animals  he  has  to  perform  the  Krichchhra, 
Santapana,  and  the  Prajapatya.  Eating  of  the  flesh  of  a dog  or  cock, 
he  has  to  perform  the  Chandrayana.^  If  a Brahman  speak  when 

* Fasting  for  a night  and  day,  and  taking  the panchagavya,  the  five  products  of  the  cow, 
milk,  butter,  curd,  dung,  and  urine. 

t Fasting  for  three  days,  eating  once  for  three  days,  abstaining  fron  asking  anything 
for  three  days,  and  fasting  for  three  days. 

X Abstaining  from  water  for  twenty-one  days. 

§ Supposed  to  be  a kind  of  water-bird. 

|]  Ardea  Garzetta.  Sykes. 

^ Eating  the  first  day  of  the  moon  one  mouthful  ; the  second  day,  two  ; the  third  day, 
three  ; and  so  on  till  the  full  moon,  when  the  supply  is  to  begin  to  be  lessoned  by  a mouth- 
ful daily  till  a new  moon  occurs.  This  is  the  Yavamadhya  Chandrayana.  In  the  Pipf- 
likd,  the  reverse  form  of  eatings  practised. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


301 


relieving  nature  or  wlien  eating,  he  should  touch  another  Brahman. 
[Such,  it  is  here  added,  is  also  the  dictum  of  Shankha  and 
Likhita.]  If  on  any  cotton  matrass,  or  ornamented  or  red  clotliing, 
any  defiling  fluid  fall,  then  let  the  article  be  purified  by  drying  it  and 
sprinkling  it  with  pure  water.*  If  a Dvija  touch  a Washerman,  a 
Charmakiira  (shoemaker.)  a Nata  (player),  a Dhivara  (fisherman),  or  a 
Buruda  (worker-in-bambus),  he  has  to  perform  an  A'chamana  with 
water.  If  any  of  these  castes  touch  a Dvija  when  he  is  uchcliMshta,^ 
he  has  to  remain  for  a night  without  eating,  contenting  himself  with 
drinking.  If  any  Dvija  eat  of  the  leavings  of  the  forementioncd 
ca.stes,  he  has  to  fast  for  three  days;  and,  if  he  be  a Brahman,  he  has 
to  perform  the  Santapana,  while  the  Kshatrij  a has  to  perform  three- 
fourths  of  it,  the  Vaishya  two-fourths  of  it,  and  the  Shudra  one-fourth. 
If  a Brahman  go  to  the  wife  of  a Shvapaka,f  he  has  to  bathe  with  all 
his  clothes,  and  take  a draft  of  clarified  butter.  If  he  do  this  without 
the  desire  of  the  woman,  he  has  to  bathe  seven  times  ; and  if  he  does 
this  with  her  desire,  but  without  his  own,  he  has  to  bathe  ten  or 
eleven  times.  If  any  woman  under  a vow  become  impure  (through 
her  courses)  her  vow  is  not  destroyed,  but  to  be  implemented  after 
four  days.  If  a Brahman  touch  the  water  of  a Chandala,  he  has  to 
perform  the  Prajapatya  and  Krichchhra.  [So  also  says  Sumanta.] 
If  a Brahman  eat  the  food  of  a Chandala  or  outcasted  person,  he  has 
to  perform  the  Parilka§  penance  ; and  a Sluidra,  tlie  Krichchhra.  If 
any  person  go  to  the  wife  of  an  outcast  or  eat  with  lier,  or  accept  any- 
thing at  her  hands,  he  has  to  abstain  for  a mouth  from  grains,  or 
perform  the  Chandrayana  penance.  If  the  flesh  of  a dog,  an  elephant, 
an  ass,  or  a man  fall  into  a well  or  tank,  the  whole  water  should  be 
taken  out,  and  the  well  or  tank  cleaned.  If  any  Brahman  partake  of 
water  in  which  a corpse  has  fallen,  he  must  remain  awake  for  a day 
and  night,  and  afterwards  swallow  the  Panchagavya.  Or  he  must 
perform  the  Chandrayana  or  Tapta-krichchhra.[| 

* Tins  is  to  prevent  injury  and  inconvenience  by  a regular  washing  as  in  ordinary 
cloth,  which  is  to  be  washed  enthe. 

t In  the  state  of  impurity,  following  eating  without  washing. 

J Literally  a “ dog-eater,”  a designation  applied  to  several  of  the  low  castes. 

§ Fasting  for  twelve  days. 

II  Drinking  hot-w.ater,  milk,  and  ghf  for  three  days  each. 


46 


3G2 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


There  is  no  fault  incurred  by  wearing  what  is  blue  at  the  time  of 
s))orting  with  women  ; but  there  is  at  the  time  of  Sandhya,  (the 
morning  and  evening  ceremonies,)  Snana  (ablution),  Japa  (meditation), 
Homa  (burnt  sacrifice),  Svadhyaya  (reading  the  Yedas),  and 
Pitritarpana  (pouring  out  water  to  Ancestors,)  and  Yajna  (sacrifice ), 
which  would  be  rendered  useless  by  it.  A Brahman  dealing  in 
indigo  becomes  an  apostate  ; or  he  must  perform  three  Krichchharas . 
If  a Brahman  wear  a blue  dress,  he  should  remain  awahe  for  a niglit 
and  a day,  and  swallow  the  Panchagavya.  If  a Brahman  pass 
through  a field  of  indigo,  he  has  to  do  the  same.  If  a Dvija  eat  of 
grain  raised  in  a field  in  which  indigo  had  before  been  sown,  he 
has  to  perform  the  Chandrayana.  Fields  in  which  indigo  has  been 
sown  are  purified  after  being  kept  fallow  for  twelve  years.  The 
husband  of  a widow  remains  in  hell  while  he  wears  cloth  dyed  with 
indigo."^' 

A woman  performing  any  fast  or  vow  (in  her  own  behalf)  while  her 
husband  is  alive  shortens  his  life,  and  goes  to  hell  after  death.  A 
Avoman  is  impure  to  the  fourth  day  after  her  illness  ; and  if  she  die  in  the 
interval  no  Sanskara  is  to  be  performed  for  her  till  after  this  interval. 

If  a person  be  impure  in  a croAvd,  his  impurity  does  not  attach  to 
others.  The  metal  mixture  Kasaf  is  purified  by  ashes.  It  is  cleansed 
from  spirits  by  being  washed  and  dried.  The  Kasa  vessels  from  Avhich 
Shiidi-as  drink  are  purified  by  touching  Avith  them  a cow.  A vessel 
touched  by  a dog,  or  a crow,  is  purified  by  an  application  of  ten  kinds 
of  salt.  Golden  and  silver  vessels  are  purified  by  the  Avind  and  the 
rays  of  the  sun  and  moon.  Vessels  of  Kasa  are  pure  for  the  washing 
ot  hands  and  feet,  and  not  for  eating  or  drinking.  Golden  and  silver 
vessels  Avhich  may  have  been  six  months  in  the  ground  are  purified 
by  Avater.  Copper  vessels  are  purified  by  acid  substances.  A woollen 
cloth  touching  a corpse  is  not  defiled. 

If  a man  go  between  a husband  and  Avife,  or  betAveen  fire  and  a 
Brahman,  or  between  a coav  and  a Brahman,  he  must  fast  for  a day 
and  night. 

* It  is  difficult  to  account  for  this  hostility  to  indigo.  Perhaps,  the  Brdhuians,  Avho 
had  established  white  as  their  religious  colour,  were  afraid  of  the  introduction  of  new 
fashions  when  their  progress  to  the  south  of  India  brought  them  in  contact  AA’ith  the 
Aborigines  using  indigo. 

t Bell-metal,  or  an  amalgam  of  zinc  and  copper. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


363 


No  fruit  occui-3  for  ablution  performed  without  the  Darbha- 
grass  ; or  for  largesses  given  withoirt  Avater  ;*  or  for  Japa 
performed  Avithout  counting.  The  placing  the  half  instead  of  the 
Avhole  of  the  foot  upon  an  A'sana  (sacred  seat)  and  speaking  Avhile 
eating,  ai’e  faults  equivalent  to  the  eating  of  beef.  If  any  man  drink 
water  or  eat  food  that  has  fallen  on  the  ground,  he  has  to  perform  the 
Chandniyana.  Dry  rice  is  (fully)  digested  after  seven  nights  ; and  veget- 
ables ate  Avitli  rice  after  fifteen  nights.  Milk  and  curds  are  digested  after 
a month  ; clai-ified  butter,  after  si.x  months  ; and  oil,  after  a year.  A 
person  taking  the  food  of  a Shiidra  for  a month  remains  a Shiidra, 
and  after  death  becomes  a dog  ( sic  ! ).  A person  Avho  becomes  fat  by 
eating  the  food  of  a Shiidra  has  no  future  good  issue.  Issue  begotten 
after  eating  Shiidra’s  food  is  of  the  Shiidra  caste.  A person  Avho  dies 
Avith  Shiidra  food  in  his  stomach  becomes  a village  pig,  or  is  reborn  in  a 
Shudra’s  family.  A person  who  sacrifices  after  eating  Avith.  Shiidras 
is  forsaken  by  Pitris  and  Devas,  and  goes  to  the  Raurava  (dreadful) 
hell.f  The  Avisdom  of  a Brahman  looking  to  a Shiidra(Avith  expectation) 
becomes  powerless.  Food  ought  to  be  given  on  the  ground  to  such 
a Brahman,  as  to  a dog.  If  a Shiidra  make  a NamaskaraJ  to  a 
Bnihman,  and  a Brahman  accept  it,  the  Shiidra  first  goes  to  hell, 
and  then  the  Brahman.  If  an  Agnihotri  Brahman  (a  Brahman 
maintaining  the  sacred  fire)  continue  to  eat  the  food  of  a Shiidra 
his  five  acquisitions, — his  soul,  his  Brahma,  and  three  fires, — are 
destroyed.  A Brahman,  according  to  A'pastamba,  is  not  to  eat 
anything  Avhich  may  have  been  in  his  hand  Avhen  he  touched 
a Shiidra.  A Bi’ahman  ought  to  eat  the  food  of  a Brahman  daily, 
that  of  a Kshatriya  on  the  Parvas,§  and  on  occasion  that  of  a Yaishya, 
but  ncAmr  that  of  a Shiidra.  The  food  of  a Brahman  is  (to  the 
Brahman)  like  ambrosia ; that  of  a Kshatriya,  like  milk  ; that  of 
a Vaishya,  like  food  (properly  so-called)  ; and  that  of  a Shiidra, 

* The  reference  here  is  to  the  necessity  of  (Tipping  presents  in  water,  or  applying 
water  to  them,  when  giving  them  to  Brdhmans.  See  before,  p.  27. 

t For  an  account  of  the  Hindu  hells  and  the  sins  said  to  lead  to  them,  see  Wilson's 
Vishnu  Purana,  pp.  207-8. 

t A form  of  salutation  to  be  given  only  by  the  Dvijas  and  to  one  another. 

§ “ Parva  is  a term  for  particular  periods  of  the  year,  (as  the  equinoxes,  solstices,  etc.) 
A name  given  to  certain  days  in  the  lunar  month,  as  the  full  and  change  of  the  moon,  and 
the  6th,  8th,  and  10th  of  each  half  month.” — Molesworth’s  Marathi  Dictionary. 


3G4 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


like  blood.  The  Brahujan’s  food  is  holiness  ; the  Kshatrij-a’s,  like  an 
animal  ; the  Yaishya’s,  like  a Shiidra;  and  a Shiidra’s,  like  hell.  The 
sin  of  a man  is  acquired  by  the  eating  of  his  food  ; he  who  eats  his 
food  eats  his  sin.  If  a Brahman  or  Brahinachari  eat  or  drink  (without 
bathing)  in  ignoi'ance  of  his  impurity  fi’om  a birth  [sutaka)  which  has 
occurred,  let  him  take  the  Panchagavya  ; and  fasting  three  days  he 
fv'ill  be  clean.  A Brahman  becomes  pure  in  ten  days  after  a birth  in 
liis  own  class,  a Kshatriya  in  six  days,  a Vaishya  in  three  days,  and 
a Shiidra  in  one  day.  The  birth  into  which  a Dvija  will  go  after 
eating  of  the  food  of  a Shiidra,  while  he  (the  Dvija)  is  in  a state  of  im- 
purity from  a death  or  birth  is  to  me  (Angiras)  unknown.  Manu  says 
he  will  be  a vulture  for  twelve  births  ; or  a pig  for  ten  births  ; 
or  a dog  for  seven  births.  No  defilement  from  birth  or  death 
occurs  when  the  party  concerned  is  practising  the  Homa,  cele- 
brating a marriage,  or  erecting  a tabernacle  for  sacrifice.  If  a 
fly  or  a liair  be  found  in  food  at  the  time  of  eating,  water  is  to 
be  applied  to  the  eyes,  and  a little  of  (the  sacred)  ashes  .sprinkled  on 
the  food.  If  nature  be  relieved  in  a forest  or  place  in  which  there  is 
no  water,  or  where  there  is  the  fear  of  tigers  or  thieves,  there  is  no 
defilement  from  tlie  disuse  of  water.  It  is  sufficient  ten  times  to  touch 
the  ground.  If  a party  become  impure  Avhile  eating,  he  has  to  put 
out  his  mouthful,  and  perform  ablution.  If  he  has  swallowed  his 
mouthful,  he  will  become  pure  by  fasting  a day  or  night  ; but  if  he 
has  completed  his  meal  he  will  become  pure  by  fasting  three  nights. 
If  he  has  ate  improper  food  while  seated  inhisPankti  (line),  he  should 
fast  for  a day  and  night,  and  afterwards  swallow  the  Panchagavya. 
Divisions  in  Panktis  are  caused  by  fire,  ashes,  pillars,  doors,  water, 
•and  roads.  After  sitting  in  one  Pankti  no  one  should  touch  that  of 
others.  The  Sparsha  (defilement  by  touch)  is  not  communicated  to 
those  in  one’s  own  Pankti,  but  it  is  communicated  to  those  of  others. 
A Bniiiman  is  not  freed  from  sin  and  impurity  by  repeating  the 
Vedas,  but  from  knowing  the  meaning  of  the  Smriti.  If  a man  repent 
of  his  sin  and  resolve  not  to  repeat  it,  he  becomes  pure  by  that  repent- 
ance, and  by  reading  the  Vedangas.  As  fire  consumes  living  trees, 
so  one  skilled  in  the  Vedas  consumes  his  own  sins.  Sin  does  not 
occur  from  confidence  in  God,  but  from  ignorance  and  inadvertence, 
on  which  account  only  it  is  consumable.,.. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


305 


In  tlie  liouse  of  a king,  in  a cow’s  fold,  and  in  the  presence  of  a God 
or  Brahman,  and  at  the  time  of  worship  and  eating,  shoes  ought  to  be 
pulled  off.  A religious  king  ought  to  cut  off  both  the  feet  of  any 
person  who  will  sit  with  his  Padukas  (wooden-slippers)  on  his  seat. 
An  Agnihotri,  a Tapasvi,  and  a person  learned  in  the  Vedas  may 
always  wear  Padukas ; no  other  person  ought  so  to  do  without  punish- 
ment. The  Chandniyana  penance  ought  to  be  performed  by  all  who 
eat  in  the  house  of  a woman  promised  in  marriage  to  one  person  and 
given  to  another  ; in  the  house  of  a woman  who  has  become  pregnant 
before  marriage ; and  in  the  house  of  a woman  who  has  become  preg- 
nant before  she  is  ten  years  old  ; and  in  the  house  of  a woman  who 
has  forsaken  her  husband  and  become  an  adulteress.  Hell  is  the  con- 
sequence of  eating  in  the  house  of  a woman  without  offspring.  They 
Avho  live  on  the  property  of  a woman  (^Stridliana)  go  to  hell,  lie  who 
takes  away  the  food  of  a King,  the  food  of  a Shudra,  or  the  glory  of  a 
Bnihmau,  or  the  food  of  a person  labouring  under  the  Siitaka,  eats  the 
sin  of  the  world.  He  who  touches  a female  Chandala  at  night, 
becomes  pui’e  by  touching  in  the  morning,  the  water  bi'ought  by  day, 
by  bathing  in  it,  and  by  drinking  it.  A Diisa,  Napita  (barber),  Gopala 
(cowherd),  Kulamitra  (common  cultivator,  literally  a friend  of  the 
family),  and  an  Ardhasiri  (a  cultivator  giving  up  half  the  produce), 
may  eat  with  a Shudra.  If  a Dvija  eat  with  a Shudra  he  has  to  per- 
form the  Chandrayana.  There  is  no  atonement  for  a man  who  has 
intercourse  with  a Yrishali  (a  woman  who  has  her  courses  before  her 
marriage).  He  who  touches  from  inadvertence  an  Ajapala,  a Mahi- 
.shya,  a Vrishalipati,  has  to  perform  ablution  of  his  person  and  dress 
(sachcilasndna.)  An  Ajapdla  is  the  husband  of  a barren  woman.  A 
Mahihya  is  a man  who  forgives  the  adultery  of  his  wife.  A Vrishali- 
pati is  the  husband  of  a girl  who  had  her  courses  before  being  married. 
Tlie  father,  mother,  and  elder  brother  who  tolerate  a girl  in  her  courses 
before  marriage  go  to  hell.  A Brahman  who  will  marry  such  a girl  is 
not  to  be  spoken  to  or  admitted  into  society.  The  ancestors  who  look 
on  a Mahishya  in  front ; on  a Vrishalipati,  in  the  middle ; and  on  a 
usurer  behind,  go  into  despair.  Ancestors,  Gods,  and  Kish  is  go 
into  despair  on  seeing  a person  with  spots  on  his  body,  a leper,  a per- 
son with  injured  nails,  and  a person  with  black  teeth.  The  gods  do 
not  eat  in  the  house  of  a backbiter,  a liar,  or  a man  in  subjection  to 


36G 


WIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


his  wife  ; or  in  the  house*  in  which  a paramour  is  found.  The 
ancestors  eat  the  clarified  birtter  of  the  person  whose  nails  and  hair 
are  good,  who  does  not  wear  red-clothing,  and  whose  ears  are  larger 
than  two  fingers.  As  long  as  the  food  is  hot,  and  no  conversation 
takes  place,  the  ancestors  feed  with  tlie  eaters.  The  qualities  of  the 
clarified  butter  are  not  to  be  spoken  of  till  the  ancestors  are  satisfied. 
Whatever  mouthfuls  at  a Havyikavya  (Shraddha)’^  are  ate  by  the 
Brahmans  are  ate  by  the  ancestors.  No  Vrata  (service  in  con- 
sequence of  a religious  vow)  avails  till  the  Brahmans  are  satisfied 
with  gifts  of  food  and  gold.  Purification  from  any  impurity 
thrown  on  the  body  by  a crow  or  a crane  is  obtained  by  washing 
the  stain.  By  six  nights’  drinking  of  the  juice  of  the  Lotus, 
Udumbara,  Bilva,  Kusha,  Ashvatha,  and  the  Palasha,f  the  stain  incur- 
red by  participating  of  articles  forbidden  to  be  eaten,  drunken,  or 
tasted,  and  of  blood,  urine,  and  foeces,  is  removed.  If  this  is  not  done, 
let  three  Ivrichchhras,  or  three  Chandniyanas,  or  the  repetition  of  the 
sacraments  upwards  from  the  J^takarma.|  [Here  follows  a repetition 
of  a verse  before  occurring.]  In  doing  penance  let  respect  be  had  to 
countiy,  time,  convenience,  property,  fitness,  and  condition.  There  is 
no  defilement  from  water  or  grass  occurring  on  a road  ; for  they  be- 
come pure  by  the  rays  of  the  sun  and  the  wind.  An  infirm  person  is 
purified  by  the  touch  of  a person  making  an  ablution  in  his  behalf. 
[Here  follows  a statement  of  the  methods  to  be  adopted  to  obtain  cere- 
monial purification  after  touching  a woman  in  her  courses.] 
Purity  is  obtained  by  ablution  after  touching  a coiqjse,  or  hearing 
of  a birth  or  death.  This  virtue  is  in  Avater,  because  the  sun 
sees  it,  because  it  is  heated  by  fire,  and  because  the  constellations 
observe  it  at  night.  Water  is  always  holy,  whether  still  or  flowing, 
whether  in  a Avell  or  reservoir,  or  river ; so  says  Vakpati  (Brihas- 
pati).  Angira  muni  has  said  that  water  (if  defiled)  is  purified  by 
Avaving  a stick  over  it,  or  by  casting  a clod  of  earth  into  it,  or  applying 
cow’s  dung  to  it.  Milk,  dung,  urine,  curds,  whey,  and  butter, 
and  the  tail  of  a cow  are  ahvays  holy.  Everything  has  noAv  been 

* Oblations  to  the  Manes  of  ancestors,  performed  by  clarified  butter  and  food. 

t The  Udumbara  is  the  Ficus  glomerata  ; the  Kusha,  the  Poa  cynosuroides  grass  ; the 
Bilva,  the  iEgle  marmelos  ; and  the  Faldsha,  the  Butea  frondosa. 

J See  before,  p.  61. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAAV-BOOKS. 


3()7 


communicated  to  you,  0 intelligent  one.  If  a cow  is  made  to  fall,  a Kr  ich- 
charaliasto  be  performed  ; if  it  full  on  a stone,  two  Kricbcharas ; if  it  fall 
into  a large  well,  half  a Kriclicliara  ; if  into  a ditch,  a quarter  of  a 
Krichchara.  If  it  be  struck  by  an  instrument,  three  Kricbcharas  have 
to  be  perfornred  by  the  killer ; if  by  a stick,  two  ; if  by  a clod  of 
earth,  one  ; or  the  Prajapatya.  One  has  not  to  speak  with  a [strange] 
woman  or  sing  with  her.  One  must  not  go  at  night  into  a cowpen  or  per- 
form any  Vedic  ceremony.  For  cutting  or  twisting  the  tail  (of  a cow) , two- 
fourths  (of  a Krichchhara)  are  prescribed  ; for  cutting  off  a foot,  a 
shaving  with  the  exception  of  the  Shikha  (tuft) ; and  for  felling,  the 
shaving  of  the  Shikha,  are  prescribed.  The  shaving  of  a woman, 
to  the  extent  of  two  handbreaths  of  her  hair,  is  prescribed  for  a similar 
olFence.  Let  a man  who  is  purified  and  undefiled  by  touch  walk  (on 
his  way)  without  speaking.  He  who  is  touched  by  a person  not 
(ceremonially  pure),  becomes  pure  in  three  nights.  If  during  the 
Sutaka  of  a person  mourning  a death,  he  receive  tidings  of  a birth,  his 
Siitaka  closes  after  the  tenth  day  ; but  if  his  Sutaka  is  in  the  first 
instance  for  a birth,  and  he  afterwards  hears  of  a death,  the  davs  of 
each  Sutaka  must  be  fulfilled  [i.e.  it  must  be  completed  in  twenty  days]. 
If  a Sutaka  is  commenced  for  one  birth  and  another  be  heard  of,  or  if  a 
Sutaka  be  commenced  for  a death,  and  another  be  heard  of,  one  Sd- 
taka  is  sufficient,  and  no  sin  occurs  from  the  arrangement.  If  a Su- 
taka occur  during  a Vrata,  let  the  Vrata  be  completed,  and  a dinner 
given  to  the  Brahmans.  Whoever  repeats  this  Shastra  declared  by 
Angiras  becomes  free  from  all  sin.* 

Oil  looking  at  the  preceding  list  of  the  Smritis,  it  will 
he  observed,  that  most  of  the  works  noticed  are  exceed- 
ingly  brief.  They  appear  to  me  to  be  made  up,  in  some 
instances,  of  the  collected  quotations  ascribed  to  their 
reputed  authors, — who  were  principally  Risliis  of  the  Vedic 
times,  who  had  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  tlieir  com- 
position,— and  not  to  be  distinctive  works  forming  either 
iiuhvidiial  treatises  or  a Code  of  Laws,  properly  so-called. 

The  Smritis  in  most  repute  throughout  India  in  general 


* Angirasmriti,  1-1G5. 


368 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


are  tliose  bearing  tlie  names  of  Manu,  Yajnavallcija, 
and  Pardshara.  The  best  coinmentarv  on  ]\Ianu  is  that 
of  the  Karnafaki  Brahman  Kidluha  Bhalta,  usuallv 
printed  with  the  text ; and  that  on  Yajnavalkva,  that  of 
tlie  Shaiva  Dandi  Vigndneshvari,  called  the  Mildkshard. 
The  best  digest  of  all  the  Smritis  and  of  the  intei’pretations 
made  of  tliem  is  that  entitled  3Iayukha,  (the  concen- 
trated Rays  of  Light)  a work  of  twelve  (hvisions  and  • 
thirty-six  thousand  Shlokas^  Avritteii  by  Nilkantha  Bhatta 
KdsJttkar,  a Deshastha  Brahman  who  flourished  consi- 
derably upwards  of  three  centuries  ago.  The  best  digest 
of  the  privileges  and  duties  of  the  Shudras,  forming  the 
great  mass  of  the  Indian  community,  as  set  forth  in  the 
Law-Books,  is  that  entitled  the  Shkdra  Kamaldkar  by 
Kamaldkar  Bhatta,  also  of  Kashi,  who  was  somewhat 
posterior  to  the  author  now  mentioned.  Numerous  otlier 
digests  of  Hindu  Law  am  in  use  in  the  different  provinces 
of  India.*  Of  these  \he  Nirnaya  Slndhu,  treating  more 
of  religious  than  secular  matters,  is  often  referred  to  in  the 
jMaralha  Country. 

The  work  bearing  the  name  of  Manu  is  sufficiently 
well-known  by  the  translation  of  Sir  William  Jones.  The 
original  text  of  it  has  been  repeatedly  printed,  and 
sometimes  with  the  commentary  of  Kulluka  Bhatta.  It 
has  the  best  claim  of  any  Hindu  Law-Book  to  the  title  of 
a Code,  though  it  is  by  no  means  a homogeneous  or 
self-consistent  work.  It  commences  by  a professed 
recital  by  Manu  (the  primitive  Manu,  the  all-knowing 
and  all-powerful)  to  the  assembled  sages,  of  the  doctrine 

* Of  these  the  largest  list  (founded  however  more  on  hearsay  than 
precise  research)  is  to  be  found  in  Steele’s  Report  above  referred  to. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


369 


of  the  evolution  or  formation  ol  the  universe,  and  all  its 
inhahitants,  animate  and  inanimate,  according  to  the 
specnlative  system  which  it  is  intended  to  support.  This  Code 
of  Law  s (Shastra),  it  tells  us,  Maim  learned  from  the  Deity 
himself,  and  afterwards  communicated  to  Marichi  and  the 
other  nine  Prajapatis  or  Lords  of  Creation.*  Mann,  it 
adds,  requested  Bhrigu  to  recite  the  Code,  wdiicli  is  conse- 
quently announced  in  his  name.  The  claims  for  its  great 
antiquity,  first  proposed  by  Sir  William  Jones,  in  his  Intro- 
duction to  his  translation  of  it,  have  of  late  years  been 
abandoned  by  all  orientalists  ; and  others  of  a more  moder- 
ate character  are  now  urged  in  its  behalf.  There  are 
allusions  in  it  not  only  to  the  three  sacrificial  Vedas,  but 
to  the  Atharva  Veda  ; to  the  Brahmanas  ; to  the  Upani- 
shads  ; to  the  Vedangas  ; and  to  the  Sliruti,  etc.f  Professor 
Lassen  shows  that  at  least  portions  of  it  are  older  than  the 
Buddhist  Sutras,  wdiich  contain  the  name  of  the  god  Shiva,  not 
to  be  found  in  it.  Parts  of  it,  too,  as  the  same  author  shows, 
must  have  been  written  wdieii  the  ATvas  knew  but  little  of 
the  nations  of  the  South  of  India,  of  w hich  only  the  Odras 
(of  Orisa,)  the  Dravklas  (of  the  south-east  of  the  penin- 
sula,) the  Avantyas  (of  Ujjayanl.)  and  the  Sdtvatas  (of  the 
Satpuda  range)  are  mentioned  by  it.J  The  collecting, 
and  probably  the  making,  of  some  of  the  laws  of  the  Code, 
however,  must  have  been  a work  of  later  times.  Heretics 
and  their  books  are  sometimes  mentioned  in  it  in  such  a 
keen  w ay  as  to  make  us  believe  that  they  had  an  organiza- 

* Atri,  Angiras,  Pulastya,  Pulalia,  Kratu,  Prachetas,  or  Daksha, 
Vashishtha,  Bhrigu,  and  Narada.  These  names  are  principally  those 
of  the  Vedic  poets,  elevated  to  the  rank  of  Prajapatis. 

f ]\Ianu  xh  33  ; iv.  100  ; etc.  :j.  Manu,  Chap.  x.  44,  21,  23. 

47 


370 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tion  hostile  to  tluit  of  the  Brahmans,  such  as  first  appear- 
ed among  the  Buddhists.*  Female  devotees,  unknown  to 
Brahmanism,  and  said  hj  Kulluka,  the  commentator,  to 
belong  to  the  “ Buddhist  sect,”  are  alluded  to."!'  The 
reference  to  the  Chinas  would  lead  us  to  infer  that  portions 
of  the  work  were  made  after  the  origination  of  the  dynasty 
of  Tsin  (B.C.  260),  taking  its  name,  however,  per- 
haps from  an  older  trihe  •,  and  to  the  Yavanas,  that  the 
same  portions  were  written  subsequent  to  the  advent  of  the 
Greeks  to  the  north  of  India.;|;  The  distinctions  between 
Mantras  andBrahmanasand  between  Shruti  and  Smflii  are 
recognized  by  it.§  The  Smritis  of  Atri,  Shaunaka,  and 
Vasi.«htha,  etc.  are  quoted  by  it.||  Reference  is  made  in  it  to 
Shudm  kings  (probably  late  authorities  among  the  ATyas) 
though  only  to  condemn  them.^  It  takes  notice  of  the 
art  of  writing,  and  the  recording  of  evidence  on  certain  occa- 
sions.** Dr.  Max  Muller  thinks  that  it  has  received  the 
name  of  the  Mdnava-dharmashdstra,  from  its  being  the 
law-book  of  the  Mdnavas,  a subdivision  of  the  sect  of  the 
Taittiriyas.'t't  The  date  of  the  oldest  Smriti  collections  is 
probably  not  to  be  extended  beyond  the  second  century 
before  Christ.  It  is  evident,  from  many  of  their  portions,  that 
they  originated  in  a dark  period  of  Indian  history,  as  far  as 
Brahmanism  is  concerned. 

* Manu,  ii.  10-11 ; xi.  66.  | ^lanu,  viii.  363. 

See  passage  quoted  before,  p.  60. 

§ Manu,  iv.  19  ; ii.  10-11  ; vi.  89. 

II  Manu,  iii.  16  ; viii.  140.  ^ Manu,  iv.  61. 

Manu,  viii.  261.  tt  Hist,  of  Sans.  Lit.  p.  61. 

For  the  opinion  of  Sir  William  Jones  on  the  faults  of  Manu,  see 
before  pp.  42-3. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


371 


I have  already  drawn  copiously  on  Mann  for  illustrations 
of  the  Caste  system  in  the  first  sections  of  this  work,  which 
treat  of  the  sphere  and  authority  of  caste  ; of  the  orthodox 
view  of  the  four  original  castes  ; and  of  the  orthodox  view 
of  the  mixed  castes.  The  following  abstract  of  important 
matters  not  already  noticed,  however,  may  be  here  advan- 
tageously made  : — 

Manu,  wlio  speaks  of  tlie  formation,  as  has  been  shown,  of  the 
Brahman,  Kshatriya,  Vaishya,  and  Shudra  from  tlie  liead,  arms,  thighs, 
and  feet  of  the  godhead,  according  to  the  orthodox  view  of  caste,*'  does 
not  consistently  adhere  to  this  theory.  He  speaks  of  Bralima  becoming 
half  male  and  half  female,  and  as  forming  Yiriij  in  that  female  ; of  Viraj 
forming  Manu ; of  Manu  forming  the  ten  Prajapatis  ; of  the  ten  Prajapatis 
forming  seven  other  Manus  and  Devas,  and  Maharshis  of  boundless  power, 
and  various  other  creatures,  including  apes,  fishes,  birds,  beasts,  deer, 
and  Men.\  Jlr.  IMuir  appropriately  asks,  “ If  the  castes  had  been 
previously  created  by  Brahma,  what  necessity  existed  for  their  being 
formed  at  another  stage  of  the  ci-eation  by  the  Maharshis,  the  third  in 
succession  fi-om  Brahma?”  And  he  appropriately  adds,  “It  would  seem  as 
if  the  legend  of  the  distinct  creation  of  castes  had  been  part  of  a separate 
and  perhaps  later  tradition,  engrafted  on  the  other  account.”|  But 
this  is  not  all.  We  have  already  seen  the  doctrine  laid  down  in  Manu, 
that  the  Kshatriya  was  formed  from  particles  of  eight  gods  specified.  § 
Afterwards  referring  to  the  three  gunas  or  qualities  of  Deity,  according 
to  Hindu  speculation,  Bhrigu  speaks  of  Shudras  and  Mle'chchhas  (like 
the  ravenous  animals)  being  of  the  middle  quality  of  Tama,  or  darkness ; 
of  Chdranas,  Suparnas,  hypocrites,  Rakshasas,  and  Pishachas  being  of 
the  highest  conditions  to  which  the  Tama  quality  can  extend ; of  Jliallas, 
Mallas,  Natas,  those  who  live  by  the  use  of  weapons,  and  gamblers, 
and  drunkards,  being  of  the  lowest  forms  of  the  Tchnasi  quality  ; of 
Bdjds,  Ksliatriyas,  and  PuroMtas,  and  of  men  skilled  in  controversy, 
being  of  the  middle  state  of  the  Tdmasi  quality ; of  Gandharvas 
Guhyakas,  Yakshas,  Vidyadharas,  and  Apsarasas  being  of  the  highest 


* Manu,  i.  3.  See  before,  pp.  62-3. 
X Muir’s  Sanskrit  Texts,  1. 16.  ' 


t Manu  i.  32.  39. 

§ See  before,  p.  37. 


372 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


of  the  quality  of  llaj,  or  passion ; of  the  practisers  of  tapa.  Yatis,  Vijiras, 
the  hosts  of  the  (lower)  heavens,  the  Xakshatras,  and  the  Daitj-as,  being 
of  the  highest  of  the  forms  of  the  quality  of  truth,  Satva;  of  sacrificers 
Kishis,  Deities,  the  Vedas,  the  fixed  stars,  the  years,  the  Pitris  (Manes 
of  ancestors),  being  of  the  middle  forms  of  the  quality  of  goodness ; and 
of  Brahma,  the  Creator  of  the  universe,  virtue,  the  Great  One,  the  Un- 
appai-ent  One,  being  the  highest  forms  of  the  quality  of  goodness.* 
“ Plere,”  as  remarked  by  Mr.  Muir,  “ we  see  Kshatriyas  and  king’s 
priests  {imrohitas)  who  of  course  are  Brahmans,  in  the  same  grade,  while 
other  Brahmans  of  different  sorts  rank  in  two  of  the  higher  classes.  The 
highest  class  of  Brahmans  rank  with  the  Ri.shis  and  the  Vedas,  while  the 
Vedas  themselves  are  only  in  the  second  cla.ss  of  good  (sdttvika ) exist- 
ences, and  lower  than  Brahma,  their  alleged  author.”  f 

Of  the  spread  of  the  A'ryas  over  India,  first  after  their  settlement  oa 
the  banks  of  the  Indus  and  its  affluents,  and  secondly,  after  their 
settlement  between  the  rivers  Sarasvati  and  Drishadvati,  in  what  was 
called  Brahmdvartta,  Manu  gives  us  some  interesting  information. 
“ As  far  as  the  eastern,  and  as  far  as  the  western  oceans,  between  the 
two  mountains  [Himavat  and  Vindhya  just  mentioned]  lies  the  tract 
which  the  wise  men  have  denominated  A'n/avartta  [the  abode  of  the 
A'ryas].”  Included  in  this  general  region  was  the  region  of  the  Brali- 
marshi,  comprehending  Ivurukshetra,  IMatsya,  Panchala,  and  Slnira- 
sena;  while  the  country  which  lies  between  the  Himavat  and  the 
Vindhya,  to  the  east  of  Vinashana,  and  to  the  west  of  Piayaga  [the 
junction  of  the  Ganges  and  the  Yamuna]  was  distinguished  as  the 
Madhyddesha  or  middle  country.  All  these  regions,  it  will  be  ob- 
served, were  north  of  the  Vindhya  range.  They  formed,  at  the  time 
at  which  the  portion  of  Manu  in  which  they  are  mentioned  was 
written,  the  land  of  Brahmanism.  “ From  a Brahman  [ograjanma) 
born  in  that  country  (^A'ryavartta),  let  all  men  on  earth  learn  their 
several  usages.”  “ That  land,  on  which  the  black  antelope  naturally 
grazes,  is  held  fit  for  the  performances  of  sacrifices  ; but  the  land  of 
Mlechchhas  differs  widely  from  it.”  “ Let  the  three  first  classes  in- 
variably dwell  in  those  before  mentioned  countries ; but  a Shudra 
distressed  for  subsist<^nce  may  sojourn  wherever  he  chooses.”| 

* Manu  xii.  43-.50.  t Muir’s  Texts,  i.  p.  18. 

J Manu  ii  17  24. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


373. 


Though  the  Hindus  are  aware  of  the  extension  of  tlie  privileged 
country  to  the  whole  of  India  they  still  act  in  the  spirit  of  these  last  quota- 
tions, and  generally  oppose  foreign  travel.  The  river  Atak  (the  name 
of  which  etymologically  means  “ obstruction,”  is  the  boundary  of 
journeying  allowed  by  caste.  A passer  over  the  sea  (.samudrayai) 
is  among  the  pai'ties  “inadmissible  into  company  at  a repast,”  and 
to  be  avoided  at  Shraddhas.’’^' 

The  great  scrupulosity  of  Caste  in  regard  to  certain  kinds  of  food  is 
thus  explained  by  Manu,  on  the  principle  of  the  metempsychosis. 
“ These  (animals  and  .^vegetables  before  mentioned)  enshrouded  in 
multiform  darkness,  by  reason  of  (past)  actions,  have  internal  con- 
sciousness, and  are  sensible  of  pleasure  and  place. ”f 

The  teaching  of  the  code  of  Manu  is  confined  by  him  to  Brahmans 
(1.  103). 

In  accordance  with  statements  already  made,  Manu  declares  that 
“ the  Veda,  Smriti,  pure  usage  (exemplified),  and  self-satisfaction  are 
the  quadruple  indications  of  Duty”  (ii.  12).  With  this  dictum  all 
the  lawbooks  agree. 

The  account  of  the  SansTcdras,  or  SacramentsJ  given  by  Manu 
is  briefer  than  that  found  elsewhere.  Parties  neglecting  the  Upanayana, 
or  investiture,  are  held  to  be  Vrdtyas  (members  of  the  profanum  vulgus) 
who  are  degraded  from  the  Gayatri,  and  with  whom  no  connexion  what- 
ever is  to  be  formed  by  any  Brahman.  The  following  caste  dis- 
tinctions are  recognized  : — “ The  yajnopavita  of  the  Brahman  is  to  be 
of  cotton,  to  be  put  over  his  head  in  three  strings ; that  of  a Kshatriya, 
of  flax  ; and  that  of  a Vaishya,  of  woollen  thread.”  (ii.  27-44:).  The 
ceremony  of  KesTidnta,  or  cutting  off  the  hair,  (in  the  sixtet^nth  year 
of  a Brahman,  in  the  twenty-second  of  a Kshatriya,  and  the  twenty- 
fourth  of  a Vaishya)  prescribed  by  Manu  (ii.  65),  is  not  now  attended  to. 

In  connexion  with  Brahmanical  discipleship,  Manu  uses  very 
strong  language  about  the  benefit  of  pronouncing  the  Gayatri  and  its 
prefixes  (the  triliteral  syllable  AUM  or  combinedly  OM,  and  the 
vydhritisj.^  A thousand  repetitions  of  the  Gayatri  by  a Dvija  “ re- 
j leases  him  in  a month  fi  om  a great  offence,  as  a snake  from  his  slough.” 
“ The  Brahman,  Kshatriya,  or  Vaishya,  neglecting  the  Gayatri  meets 

* Mann  iii.  1G7.  -f  Mann,  i.  49. 

J A list  of  the  San.skflras  is  given  above,  pp.  OO-Gl.  § See  before,  p.  14C. 


374 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


with  contempt  from  tho  virtuous.”  It  is  the  “ mouth  (or  principal  part) 
of  the  Veda.”  Whoever  practises  the  daily  repetition  of  it  for  three 
years  “ approaches  Brahma,  moves  as  freely  as  air,  and  assumes  an 
aerial  form.”  All  rites  pass  away,  but  it  remains.  “ By  the  sole  repeti- 
tion of  the  Gayatri,  a Brahman  may  indubitably  obtain  beatitude,  let 
him  perform,  or  not  perform  any  other  religious  act.  ” (ii.  7G-87.) 

[Here  is  the  wonderful  Mantra  deriving  its  name  from  the  measure 
(in  three  lines)  of  the  Siikta  of  the  Veda  from  which  it  is  taken  : — 

aff  iHTf  : 

C\ 

jTiff  l-q-^^rqTJirr 
rSr^r  ifr  || 

Om  ! bJiur  hhuvah  svdh  ! 

Tat  savitni-  varenyam,  bhargo  devasrja  dh'mahi ; 
dhiyo  yo  nah  2Jrachodaydt.'" 

— Om  ! Earth  ! Sky  ! Pleaven  ! — We  contemplate  that  praiseworthy 
Sun  {Savit^d),  of  divine  lustre  ; may  he  direct  ourintellects  !] 

This  Gayatri,  it  is  afterwards  enjoined,  must  be  repeated  several  times 
at  dawn  and  dusk  (which  form  with  the  noon  the  three  daily  times  of 
Sandhya  with  the  Hindus),  on  the  penalty  of  the  Dvija  being  excluded, 
like  a Shiidra,  from  the  sacred  observances  of  the  twice- born  (ii.  101-3). 

The  Brahman  disciple  must  acquire  his  knowledge  of  the  Veda  from 
his  preceptor,  lest  he  should  prove  a thief  and  sink  to  the  region  of 
torment  (ii.  II 6),  yet  in  times  of  difficulty  he  may  learn  the  Veda  from 
other  sources  (ii.  241).  Neglect  of  the  prescribed  form  of  returning  a 
salutation  deprives  him,  like  a Shiidra,  of  the  right  of  salutation  (ii.l26)- 
Wealth,  kindred,  age,  conduct,  and  learning  entitle  men  to  respect- 
''  The  seniority  of  Vipras,”  however,  “ is  from  knowledge  ; of  Kshatriyas^ 
from  valour ; of  Vaishyas,  from  wealth  and  grain  ; and  of  Shiidras 
from  (the  priority  of)  birth”  (ii.  136,  157).  A Brahman  neglecting 
the  study  of  the  Vedas  becomes,  with  his  descendants,  like  a Shudra 
(ii.  168).  He  is  not  allowed  to  pronounce  sacred  texts,  till  his  new  birth 
occurs,  before  which  he  is  on  a level  with  a Shudra  (173).  A Brdliman 
student,  but  not  a .ffo/anya  or  a Fafs/iya,  must  be  a mendicant  (190). 

■*Kig-Veda,  iii.  40,  in  which,  however,  the  words  Om  bhui' hhuvoh  svah  iiO  wi  occur. 
The  selection  of  the  Gayatri  for  distinction  as  a Mantra  seems  to  have  originated  in 
the  prevalence  of  solar  worship  among  the  ancient  Indiana. 


CASTE  m THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


375 


Wlien  treating  of  the  married  state  Mauu  thus  ordains  : — “ Only  a 
ShiUlra  woman  ought  to  be  the  wife  of  a Shudra  ; she  and  a Vaishja,  of 
a Vaishja;  they  two  and  a Kshatriya,  of  a Kshatriya;  tho.se  two  and  a 
S)  (ihiTKxnij  of  a J^vuIitucui,  (iii.  13.)  i\larriages,  however^  must  now 
be  confined  to  parties  belonging  to  each  caste  respectively.*  Manu 
mentions  also  the  eight  kinds  of  Indian  marriages  allowed  in  his  dayf 
(iii.  21,  41).  The  minute  and  strange  rules  for  the  intercourse  of 
married  per.sons  (iii.  45,  50)  I pa.ss  over. 

In  dome.stic  management  there  are  five  places  of  extinguishment  of 
life, — the  hesirth,  the  millstone,  the  broom,  the  pestle  and  mortar,  and 
the  water-jar  ; but  penance  for  the  stain  thus  occasioned  is  performed 
by  the  five  great  sacrifices reading  the  Veda  ; offering  cakes  and 
water  to  the  manes  of  ancestors  ; offering  oblation  to  fire  in  behalf  of  the 
deities  ; giving  food  to  animals  ; sacrificing  for  departed  spirits  (hlnctas), 
and  practising  ho.spitality  for  men.  (iii.  68-90.)  A Brahman  may 
be  a guest  m the  house  of  a Brahman,  but  not  a Kshatriya,  un- 
less he  eat  after  the  Brahmans  (100,  110,  111). 

The  following  p.arties,  among  others,  are  to  be  avoided  by  Brahman 
householders  in  connexion  with  their  daily  rites  : — Brahmans  guilty 
of  theft,  atheists,  gamblers,  those  who  perform  many  sacrifices  for  the 
vulgar,  physicians,  De'valaka  (dressers  of  images),  and  flesh-sellers. 
The  following  parties  must  all  be  shunned  : — a messenger,  a person  with 
bad  nails  or  blackish  teeth,  an  oppo.ser  of  his  preceptor,  a phthisical 
man,  a feeder  of  cattle,  a younger  brother  married  before  the  elder 
an  elder  brother  not  married  before  the  younger,  a dependant  on  the 
wealth  of  relatives,  a dancer,  an  Avalcirm  (a  person  of  the  first  or  fourth 
A'shrama  who  has  violated  chastity,)  a Vnshal(pati,X  son  of  a 
twice-married  woman,  a man  blind  of  an  eye,  one  in  whose  house  an 
adulterer  dwells,  a teacher  of  the  Vedas  for  hire,  one  who  has  given 
hire  to  such  a teacher,  the  pupil  of  a Shudra  and  a Shudra  preceptor, 
a rude  speaker,  and  a lumda-golaka  (the  son  of  an  adulteress  either 
Ijefore  or  after  the  death  of  the  adulteress),  one  who  eats  with  a 
Kunda,  a seller  of  the  Soma-plant,  a traveller  by  the  ocean,  a Band'i, 

* See  Mitiiksharii,  i.  3.  (p.  7 of  Cal.  ed.)  f See  before,  p.  2.39. 

* See  before,  p.  S65.  But  Kulliika  Bhatta  makes  the  Vrishali'pati  an  individual  (of 
the  Dvija)  who  instead  of  marrying  in  his  own  caste  marries  a Shudra. 


376 


WHAT  CASTE  IS, 


an  oilman,  a drinker  of  spirits,  a seller  of  liquid,  a maker  of  bows  and 
arrows,  a father  instructed  in  the  Yeda  by  his  son,  a leper,  etc.  The 
following  parties  must  be  shunned  with  greatcare — tamers  and  keepers 
of  animals,  a Brahman  living  as  a Shiidra,  a sacrificer  to  the  Ganas, 
one  who  does  not  practise  dckdra,  the.  husband  of  a twice-married 
woman,  and  the  remover  of  dead  bodies,  (iii.  I0O-I66.)  The  alleged 
penalties  for  neglecting  these  injunctions  are,  in  some  instances,  of  an 
alarming  character.  “ Food  given  to  the  seller  of  the  moon-plant 
becomes  ordure  in  another  world ; to  a physician,  pus  ; to  a Devalaka 
(dresser  of  images),  offal ; to  a usurer,  infamous”  (181). 

Minute  information  and  directions  about  the  Shraddhas  to  the 
manes  of  ancestors  and  to  deities  follow.  The  most  favourable  place 
for  a Shraddha  is  some  unfrequented  place.  If  there  be  no  consecrated 
fire  into  which  some  of  the  oblations  may  be  dropped,  they  may  be 
dropped  into  the  hands  of  a Brahman,  who  is  the  equivalent  of  fire 
(212).  The  Brahman  must  be  very  careful  about  his  manner  of 
eating.  What  he  eats  with  his  head  enveloped,  with  his  face  to  the 
south  (the  habitat  of  the  Rakshasas),  with  his  sandals  on  his  feet,  the 
demons  assuredly  devour.  He  should  not  be  seen  eating  by  a 
Chandiila,  a pig,  a cock,  a dog,  a woman  in  her  courses,  or  a eunuch. 
The  fool  who  gives  the  residuum  of  the  Shraddha  to  a Shiidra  falls 
into  the  hell  Kdlasutra.  The  superfluous ^rf«cZas,  or  lumps,*  may  be 
given  to  a cow,  to  a Brahman,  to  a kid,  or  to  fire.  Not  only  are  the  minis- 
trant  Brahmans  satisfied,  but  the  manes  themselves.  They  are  .satis- 
fied, according  to  the  code,  for  a month  by  the  common  grains  and  pot- 
vegetables  ; for  two  months,  with  fish  ; for  three  months,  with  the  flesh 
of  the  antelope ; for  four,  with  mutton  ; for  five,  with  eatable  birds  ; for 
six,  with  the  flesh  of  the  kid;  for  seven,  with  that  of  the  spotted  deer  ; 
for  eight,  with  that  of  the  black-antelope  ; for  nine,  with  that  of  the 
ruru  (nilgai  ?)  ; for  ten,  with  that  of  the  boar  and  buffalo ; for  eleven, 
with  that  of  hares  and  turtles  ; for  a year,  with  cow’s  milk  and  the  food 
cooked  of  it  ; for  twelve  years,  with  that  of  the  long-eared  white  goat ; 
for  ever  with  the  Icdlashdka  (the  enduring  vegetable),  with  the  flesh 
of  a rhinoceros,  and  of  the  iron-coloured  kid,  with  honey,  and  with, 
foreign  grains  eaten  by  hermits,  (iii.  238,  23fl,  249,  260,  267,  271). 


♦ Often  rendered  funeral  cakes. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


377 


Animal  food,  however,  is  now  generally  abstained  from  at  Shrdddhas, 
according  to  the  following  smriti : — ■ 

| 

HiTRR:  II 

“ I’he  Agnihotra,  the  slaughter  of  cows,  Sannyasa,  (the  nse  of)  flesh  at 
the  feast  for  the  Pitris,  the  raising  of  offspring  by  the  brother  of  (a 
deceased)  husband,  are  five  things  forbidden  in  the  Kali  (Yuga)”.  Of 
these  the  Agnihotra  and  Sanyasa,  however,  are  still  in  practice,  having 
been  said  to  have  been  restored  by  Shankara  A'charya. 

When  treating  of  the  means  of  subsistence  for  the  Brahman  house- 
holder, Manu,  as  we  have  seen,  allows  him  to  live  by  truth  or  falsehood, 
but  not  by  hired  service.f  A Brahman,  wben  hungry,  may  beg  from 
a king,  the  institutor  of  a sacrifice,  or  his  own  pupil,  but  from  no 
person  else.  He  has  ever  to  pay  respect  to  objects  esteemed  sacred. 
He  must  not  step  over  a string  to  which  a calf  is  tied,  nor  run  when 
rain  [the  gift  of  ludra]  falls,  nor  look  on  his  own  image  in  water.  lie 
must  pass  a ?nrjdaa(7a  (a  kind  of  drum,)  | an  object  of  worship,  a 
Briihman,  clarified  butter,  honey,  a place  where  foixr  paths  meet,  or 
large  trees,  with  his  right  hand  towards  them.  Particular  rules,  stated 
with  disgusting  particularity  (and  much  dwelt  on  in  the  principal 
law-])ooks)  he  has  to  observe  when  relieving  nature.  He  must  not 
dwell  in  a city  governed  by  a Shiidra  king,  nor  in  one  abounding  with 
persons  of  Jow-caste.  He  must  not  stand  with  Chandalas,  Pukka- 
sas,  or  Antyavasayins,  or  give  spiritual  advice  or  read  the  Vedas 
to  Shudras.  He  is  never  to  despise  a Kshatriya,  a serpent,  or  a 
Brahman.  He  has  to  wear  no  marks  wdiich  do  not  belong  to  him. 
He  is  forbidden  to  eat  polluted  food,  and  that  offered  to  him  by 
persons  of  other  castes,  the  legislation  of  Manu  on  these  matters 
Ireing  similar  to  that  of  Angiras  already  noticed.  A cultivator,  a 
herdsman,  a Dasa,  a barber,  etc.  may,  however,  eat  the  food  of  their 
superiors,  (iv.  33,  39,  79,  99, 130,  135,  210,  253.) 

It  is  not  necessary  to  repeat  what  is  said  by  Manu  on  the  diet  of 
Brdhmans§.  In  addition  to  former  notices,  this  may  be  given  : — The 

» Laugdkshi,  quoted  in  the  Nirnaya  Sindhu,  iii.  1.  f See  before,  p.  21. 

+ Sir  \\illiain  Jones  translates  this,  a mound  of  earth,  § See  before,  pp,  32-3. 

48 


378 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


man  who  performs  annually,  for  a hundred  years,  an  ashvam^dha,  (or 
horse-saci  ifice.)  and  the  man  who  abstains  from  flesh-meat  have  equal 
merit  (v.  53). 

The  institutes  ofManu  on  the  subject  of  purification  are  similar  to 
those  of  Angiras,  though  somewhat  more  extended.  Those  referi  ing 
to  purification  for  the  dead  occupy  a chief  place  in  the  code.  When 
a child  is  born,  or  when  he  dies  in  maturity,  all  his  kindred  are 
impure.  By  a dead  body  the  Sapitidas  (the  seven  orders  of  descent  in 
the  kin,  entitled  to  eat  the  pinda  or  lump  together)  are  impure  for  ten 
days,  or  for  three  days,  when  the  bones  have  been  gathered  up  (before 
the  knowledge  of  the  death  has  been  acquired),  or  for  one  day  only 
in  the  case  of  distinguished  Brdhmans.  Samdnodal-as,  those  entitled  to 
make  the  oblation  of  water  together,  and  embracing  all  knowm  relatives 
not  included  in  the  Sapfndas,  become  pure  by  simple  ablution. 
Matters  are  the  same  in  the  case  of  births,  for  those  who  seek  absolute 
purity.  In  practice,  however,  a mother  is  unclean  for  ten  days  after 
a birth,  while  a father  becomes  pure  by  bathing ; Sapindas  become  pure 
in  ten  days  after  touching  a corpse ; Samdnodakas,  in  three.  The 
pupil  of  a Brahman  preceptor  becomes  pure  in  ten  nights,  after 
attending  the  preceptor’s  funeral.  For  the  death  of  a vender  of  the 
whole  Veda,  a man  dwelling  in  the  same  house  with  him  is  impure 
for  three  nights.  A subject  is  impure  for  a day  or  night  on  the  death 
of  a king.  In  the  cases  in  which  a Brahman  becomes  pure  in  ten 
days,  a Kshatriya  is  purified  in  twelve,  a Vaishya,  in  fifteen,  and  a 
Shudra,  in  a month.  He  who  touches  a Pivdkirti  (one  likea  Chandala),  a 
fallen  one,  a woman  in  her  course.s,  a new-born  child,  a corpse,  or 
one  who  has  touched  a corpse,  is  purified  by  bathing.  A BiAhman 
touching  a human  bone  moist  with  oil  is  purified  by  bathing  ; touch- 
ing a bone  not  oily,  by  touching  a cow,  or  looking  at  the  sun,  after 
performing  an  dchamana.  There  is  to  be  no  giving  of  funeral  water 
for  Vratyas  and  those  who  belong  to  the  mixed  castes,  for  female 
devotees,  etc.  A king  on  the  tin-one  is  alwaj's  pure.  So  is  a Kshatriya 
dying  in  battle,  (v.  58,  59,  Gl,  G5,  81,83,  85,  87,  89,  94,  98.) 

As  to  the  purification  of  inanimate  objects,  Manu  agrees  with  An- 
giras, enumerating,  however,  more  instances  of  defilement.  He  gives 
the  ibllowing  mitigations,  however,  of  the  bondage  in  which  the  doc- 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


37P 


trine  of  Shaucha  and  Ashancha  places  tbe  Indian  community.  To  Brdli- 
mans,  are  pure  Avhat  has  been  defiled  without  their  knowledge,  what  in 
cases  of  doubt  they  sprinkle  with  water,  and  what  they  coininetid 
with  their  speech.  Wateis  are  not  defiled  by  cows  quenching  their 
thiist  in  them.  The  hand  of  an  artist,  the  liiod  got  in  begging  by  a 
Brahmachari,  the  month  of  a woman,  fruit  pecked  by  a biid,  an 
animal  sucking,  a dog  in  catching  deer,  animal.s  killed  by  hunters,  all  the 
cavities  above  the  navel,  flies,  the  drops  from  the  mouth  of  a speaker, 
the  shadow  of  an  object,  a cow,  a horse,  the  sun-beam,  dust,  eartii,  air, 
and  fire,  are  all  pure  even  when  touching  and  touched,  (v.  ^ 127-133.) 

To  remove  natui-al  impurities  various  ceremonies  are  resorted  to. 
(v.  134-139.) 

Shudras  regardful  of  religion  have  to  shave  once  a month,  to  observe 
the  laws  ofpurity  like  Vai.shyas,  and  to  eat  the  orts  of  the  Dvijas.'  (140.) 

The  laws  respecting  women  found  in  Manu,  I here  pass  over,  with  the 
intention  of  onwards  referring  to  them. 

The  Vdnaprastha  and  the  Sanvydsi  are  to  be  as  observant  of  purity 
as  the  householder.  To  the  latter  the  following  injunction  is  address- 
ed.— “ Let  1 lim  advance  his  foot  purified  by  looking  (at  what  is  before 
him)  ; let  him  drink  water  purified  by  cloth  ; let  him  utter  pure  truth  ; 
let  him  keep  his  heart  pure.”  (vi.  46.)  Here  the  ceremonial  and 
moral  are  combined.  His  dishes  must  have  no  fracture,  nor  be  made 
of  bright  metal.  Their  purification  must  be,  only  with  water,  as  in  the 
case  of  sacrificial  vessels.  A gourd,  a wmodeu  bowl,  an  earthen  dish, 
and  a basket  made  of  banibu,  are  the  vessels  proper  for  the  reception 
of  his  food.  As  a penance  for  his  unknowingly  killing  animals,  he  has 
to  make  si.v  prdndydmas  (suppressions  of  breath)  daily.  (53,  51,  69.) 
Notwithstanding  the  commendation  given  to  ascetics,  the  ashrama  of 
the  householder,  who  observes  the  Veda  and  the  Smriti,  and  supports 
the  other  orders,  is  the  chief.  (89.) 

Much  of  the  legislation  lecorded  in  Manu  regarding  the  Kshatriya, 
or  ruler,  is  more  of  a civil  than  a religious  character,  though  this 
distinction,  properly  speaking,  is  not  admitted  in  the  Hindu  writers. 
Ca.ste  partialities  are  not  wanting  in  the  prescription  of  the  duties 
of  a king,  as  has  been  already  shown  in  a foimerj)art  of  this  woi  k.* 
In  his  administration  of  law,  he  has  to  regard  not  only  what  is 
* See  before,  pp.  37-44. 


380 


. WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


alleged  to  have  been  revealed,  but  the  peculiar  customs  of  countries, 
tribes,  castes,  etc.  (viii.  46.)  Kegard  is  to  be  had  by  him  to  tlie 
dignity  of  the  several  castes  in  the  administration  of  oaths.  He  has  to 
examine  Brahmans,  however,  who  act  as  herdsmen,  traders,  artizans, 
dancers,  singers,  and  hired  servants,  as  if  they  Avere  Shiidras  (viii.  102). 
A Brahman,  he  has  to  swear  by  his  veracity  ; a Kshatriya,  by  his 
conveyance  and  Aveapons;  a Vaishya  by  his  cows,  grain,  and  gold;  and 
a Shiidra  by  the  imprecation  of  all  kinds  of  sins.  (113.)  The  three 
loAver  classes  he  may  fine,  as  well  as  banish  for  falsehood,  but 
Brahmans  he  must  simply  banish.  (123.)  The  awful  severity  of 
punishments  prescribed  for  parties  insulting  Brahmans  has  already  been 
noticed. '•'  For  theft  (the  meanness  of  Avhich  seems  to  have  been  promi- 
nently in  the  vieAV  of  the  Hindu  legislators)  a Brahman  is  to  be  more 
severely  punished  by  fine  than  others.  The  fine  of  a Shiidra  in  this 
case  is  eight-fold;  of  a Vaishya,  sixteen-fold;  of  a Kshatriya,  thirty- 
two-fold  ; and  of  a Brahman,  sixty-four-fold,  or  even  more.f  (338.) 
Touching  a married  Avoman  on  (the  breasts)  or  any  place  Avhieh 
ought  not  to  be  touched,  and  enduring  complacently  the  improper 
touch  of  a Avoman,  are  to  be  A'iewed  as  a species  of  adultery.  (359.) 
Women  guilty  of  adultery  are  to  be  m6st  severely  puni.shed.  A 
Avoman  polluting  a damsel  is  to  get  her  head  shaved,  tivo  fingers  chopped 
off,  and  to  be  paraded  on  an  ass.  An  unfaithful  wife  of  high  family 
is  to  be  devoured  by  dogs,  Avhile  her  paramour  is  to  be  burned  to  death 
on  an  iron  bed  Ave  11  heated.  (371-2.)  Committing  adultery  Avith  a guard- 
ed Brahmani,  a Shiidra  has  to  suffer  death  ; a Vaishya,  has  to  lose  his 
Avealth ; and  a Kshatriya  has  to  be  fined  a thousand  pranas  and  shaved  Avith 
the  urine  of  an  ass.  (374-375.)  A Vaishya  committing  adultery  AA'ith 
an  unguarded  Brahmani  is  to  be  fined  five  hundred,  and  a Kshatriya, 
a thousand  (parias)  ; but  committing  this  crime  with  a guarded  Brah- 
mani, they  should  be  punished  as  Shiidras,  or  be  burned  in  a fire  of  dry 
grass  or  reeds.  (376-7.)  Yet  ignominious  tonsure  is  the  only  punish- 
ments for  Brahmans  in  a case  of  this  kind,  Avhose  death  in  punishment 
a king  must  not  even  imagine. | More  of  this  partial  legislation  in 
the  case  of  adultery  is  found  in  the  context.  (381-5.) 

* See  before,  p.  22. 

t A Brahman,  however,  may  take  the  property  of  his  Shiidra.  See  pp.  21,  23. 

J See  before,  p.  22. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


381 


E.'cetnption  from  taxes  is  granted  to  persons  conferring  great  benefits^ 
and  to  Brabuians  of  eminent  learning,  as  in  the  case  of  tlie  blind,  idiotic, 
lame,  and  aged.  (394.) 

The  supremacy  of  the  king  in  all  market  charges,  prices,  measure- 
ments, and  tolls  is  distinctly  laid  down.  Brahman  students,  and 
religious  mendicants,  and  some  other  classes  of  the  community  are 
exempt  from  toll.  (398-409.) 

The  king  has  to  order  the  Vaishya  to  practise  trade,  or  money- 
lending,  or  agriculture,  or  attendance  on  cattle  ; and  to  cause  the 
Shudra  to  serve  the  twice-born.  (410.) 

A wealthy  Brahman  may  contribute  to  the  support  of  a Kshatriya 
and  Vaishya,  assigning  them  their  respective  duties.  His  power  over 
a Shudra  in  the  matter  of  service  is  unlimited.  (413-414,  417.) 

The  ninth  chapter  of  Manu  treats  in  the  first  instance  of  Females, 
whose  position  in  caste  and  religion  we  shall  afterwards  liave  occasion 
to  notice.  It  then  passes  on  to  the  matter  of  Inheritance,  which  is 
connected  more  with  general  jurisprudence  than  with  caste,  to  which, 
however,  some  of  its  injunctions  directly  refer. 

If  there  be  four  wives  of  a Brahman  in  the  direct  order  of  the 
classes,  and  sons  are  produced  by  them  all,  this  is  the  Smriti  of  parti- 
tion : the  chief  servant  in  agriculture,  the  bull  of  the  herd,  the  riding 
liorse  or  carriage,  the  (family)  ornaments,  and  the  principal  messuage 
shall  be  deducted  from  the  inheritance,  and  given  to  the  Brahman  son 
together  with  a large  share  by  way  of  pre-eminence.  Let  the  Brahman 
have  three  shares  of  the  residue  ; the  son  of  the  Kshatriya  wife,  two 
shares  ; the  son  of  the  Vaishya  wife,  a share  and  a half ; and  the  son 
of  the  Shudra  wife,  one  share,  (ix.  149-lol.)  An  alternative  ar- 
rangement, however,  is  also  sanctioned.  (152-loG.)  This  legislation 
from  the  progress  of  time,  and  the  change  of  usage,  is  now  obsolete  in 
the  Hindu  community.  The  marriage  of  the  Dvija  of  any  of  three  Varnas 
to  any  female  not  of  his  own  caste  is  forbidden  in  the  Kali  Yuga.* 

For  a Shudra  is  ordained  a wife  of  his  own  class,  and  no  otlier  : all 
produced  by  her  shall  have  equal  shares,  though  she  have  a hundred 
sons.  (lo7.)  A son  begotten  through  lust  by  a Brahman  on  a Shiidi  a 

* See  quotation  from  the  Brihan  Naradfya,  in  the  Nirnaya  Sindhu,  chap.  3,  near  the 
end. 


382 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


is  like  a corpse  though  alive,  and  thence  called  in  law  a living  corpse, 
or  pdrashava.  (178.) 

The  property  of  a Brahman  dying  without  heirs  near  of  kin  or  distant 
relatives  ( sapindas  or  samdnodakas)  is  to  be  given  to  Bi  ahnians  who  have 
recited  the  three  Vedas,  and  who  are  of  purity  and  subdued  passion,  and 
whohave  to  present  water  and  the  funeral  cake  to  the  father,  grandfatlier, 
and  great-grandfather  whom  they  thus  represent.  The  property  of  a 
Brahman  (contrary  to  the  rule  in  other  castes)  is  never  to  be  made  an 
escheat  by  the  king.  (186-189.) 

Eunuchs  aTid  outcastes,  persons  born  blind  or  deaf,  madmen,  idiots, 
the  dumb  and  such  as  have  lost  the  use  of  a limb,  are  excluded  fj  om 
a share  of  the  heritage,  though  entitled  to  food  and  raiment.  (201-2.)^ 

Tliose  who  neglect  the  duties  of  their  caste,  are  with  public 
dancers,  singers,  heretics,  etc.  to  be  banished  by  the  prince.  (225.) 

A Kshatriya,  Vaishj’a,  or  Shiidra  may  discharge  his  debt  by 
labour.f  A Brahman  is  to  discharge  it  by  degrees.  (229.) 

The  slayer  of  a Brahman,  a drinker  of  ardent  spirits,  the  stealer  of 
the  gold  of  aB'ahman,  and  the  violator  of  the  bed  of  his  fiither 
(natural  or  official)  are  criminals  in  the  highest  degree.  (235.)  Such 
parties  who  may  not  have  performed  an  e.xpiation  are  to  be  branded 
in  a particular  way,  and  to  be  treated  as  outcastes.  With  none,  to  eat 
with  tliem,  wuth  none  to  sacrifice  with  them,  with  none  to  be  allied 
by  marriage  to  them,  abject  and  excluded  from  all  social  duties,  let 
them  wander  over  this  earth  : branded  with  marks  they  shall  be  de- 
serted by  their  paternal  and  maternal  relations,  treated  by  none 
with  affection,  received  tjy  none  wdth  respect.  (238-9.)  TheBiahmau 
guilty  of  any  of  these  crimes  is  to  be  banished  ; while  the  offen<ler 
of  other  classes,  even  though  the  offence  may  have  been  unpremedi- 
tated, shall  be  corporally  or  even  capitally  punished. 

* With  this  agrees  the  doctrine  of  Yajnavalkya  and  of  the  otherauthors  of  the  Smritis. 
Mitakshard.  ii.  10-1,  etc. 

t Karmma.  In  1835,  I witnessed,  at  Dvarakd,  a curious  application  of  this  princ’ple, 
under  the  adn.inistration  of  the  agents  of  H.  H.  the  Gdikawdd.  A Hindu  tailor,  who  had 
attached  himselt  for  the  sake  of  companionship  to  my  servants  on  the  road  to  that  wild 
part  of  India,  took  a rfors/mn  (leligious  view)  ot  the  god  Ranchod  withi  ut  paying  the 
established  fee  ot  nine  rupees.  He  was  apprehended  in  consequence,  and  condemned  to  ply 
the  needle  ffr  a month  and  a half,  (conveniently)  to  the  repair  of  the  clothing  of  all  the 
officials  concerned. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


383 


A virtuous  king  must  not  appropriate  the  wealth  of  a Mahipataka, 
a sinner  in  the  higliest  degree.  He  ought  to  throw  the  fine  inflicted 
(on  such  a person)  into  tlie  waters  as  an  offering  to  Varuna,  or  give 
it  to  a learned  Brahman.  (243-4.) 

A person  of  low  caste  (avaravarna)  giving  pain  to  Brahmans  should 
receive  a teirific  punishment  from  the  prince.  (248.)  Hoirible  punish- 
ments, indeed,  are  ordered  to  be  inflicted  on  other  classes  of  offenders. 
Special  hate  is  manifest  to  the  goldsmith,  who  is  ordered  to  be  cut  to 
pieces  with  razors  when  guilty  of  fraud.  (276-292.) 

The  king  is  cautioned  against  incensing  Biahmans,  who  could  des- 
troy him  with  his  troops,  elephants,  horses,  and  cars.  (313.)'^ 

On  Vaishyas  and  Shudras  is  enjoined  the  discharge  of  the  duties 
specially  assigned  to  them.l 

Tlie  tenth  chapter  of  Manu  treats  principally  of  the  Mixed  Ca.stes. 
I have  already  extracted  its  substance. ij;  Some  caste  arrangements  are 
intimated  in  connexion  with  the  alleged  genesis  of  the  different  castes 
and  the  occupations  assigned  to  them. 

The  Chandala  and  Shvapaka  must  live  exterior  to  towns,  be  denied  the 
use  of  entire  vessels,  and  have  as  their  sole  wealth  dogs  and  asses. 
Their  clothes  must  be  those  of  the  dead,  their  dishes  broken  pots,  their 
ornaments  rusty  iron.  Continually  must  they  wander  from  place  to 
place.  Other  classes  must  have  no  intercourse  with  them.  They 
must  not  walk  by  night  in  cities  and  towns.  They  must  carry  the 
corpses  of  those  who  die  without  friends.  Their  duty  is  to  slay  criminals 
under  the  king’s  warrant,  and  their  privilege  is  to  receive  their  clothes, 
beds,  and  ornaments.  (51-G.) 

The  offspring  of  a Brahman  from  a Shudra  woman  shall  l>e  rai.sed  to 
the  class  of  the  father  in  the  seventh  generation.  The  same  is  the  law 
as  to  the  offspring  of  a Kshatriya  and  of  a Vaishya  by  a Shudra  woman. 
(64-5.)  But  these  dicta  are  now  obsolete,  as  the  wives  of  the  Dvija 
must  niw  be  of  tlndrown  class. § They  are  worthy  of  notice,  however, 
as  indicating  corruption  in  the  Biahmanical  blood  in  ancient  times. 
It  is  curious  to  mark  in  connexion  with  them,  the  following  extra- 
ordinary law  : — “ Ashy  virtue  of  the  father’s  issue  the  descendants  of 

* See  in  connexion  with  this  the  quotations,  made  at  p.  24,  above. 

•f  See  before,  p.  p.  44-50.  J Bee  before  pp.  53-60,  § See  before  p.  377. 


384 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


animals  have  become  reverend  and  celebrated  Risliis  (exemplified  says 
Kulluka  Bhatta  in  Rishishringa,  in  the  liamayana),  so  (it  isseen)  that 
the  paternal  side  prevails.  (72.) 

In  noticing  the  occupations  in  which  the  Dvijas  may  engage  when 
straitened  for  subsistence,  there  is  a great  discouragement  of  agricul- 
ture, destructive  of  animal  life  ; of  the  sale  of  liquids,  dressed  grain, 
tila  seeds  (unless  for  sacred  purposes),  atones,  salt,  cattle,  men,  women, 
cloth  dyed  red,  cloth  made  of  Sana,  Kshuma-bark,  wool  (even  though 
not  red)  ; of  fruit,  roots,  drugs,  water,  arms,  poison,  flesh-meat  ; of  the 
Soma,  milk,  honey,  clarified  butter,  oil  (of  tila),  sugar,  and  the  Kusha 
grass  ; of  forest  beasts  ; of  ravenous  beasts,  spirits,  indigo,  lakshd  (lac), 
and  beasts  with  uncloven  hoofs.  “ By  selling  flesh,  laksha,  or  salt,  a 
Brahman  instantly  becomes  an  apostate  ; by  selling  milk  for  three  days, 
he  becomes  a Slnidra.”  (86-92.)  The  sale  of  some  of  these  articles 
is  interdicted  because  of  their  supposed  sacredness,  because  of  the  loss 
of  animal  life  in  their  production,  or  because  of  their  alleged  impurity 
or  liability  to  ceremonial  defilement. 

The  advantage  of  each  caste  seeking  to  discharge  its(  own  duties  is 
illustrated  by  the  following  statute  and  maxim  : — 

rfiFTT  R-  qrrw 
ff  ^i?r:  Tqffl  5irrliFr:il 

“ One’s  own  imposed  duty  though  rvorthless  is  paramount, — not  that 
of  another  party,  though  w'ell  instituted ; the  person  living  by  a strange 
course-of-duty  falls  instantly  from  Caste.”  (97.)"'  The  Brahman  in 
distress,  however,  may  receive  gifts  from  any  quarter  (atonements 
being  at  hand).  To  save  life  forbidden  food  may  be  taken,  as 
illustrated  in  the  alleged  cases  of  Aji'garta,  Vamadeva,  Bharadvaja, 
and  Vishvamitra  often  referred  to  in  the  Hindu  literature. f (102-8.) 

• This  is  somewhat  like  what  we  find  in  the  Bhagavad-Gfta  (iii.  35)  : 

ftJJ'T:  'Tr-TflTfT 

“ One’s  own  religion,  though  worthless,  is  better  than  a strange  religion,  however 
well  instituted  , death  in  one’s  own  rehgion  is  good  ; that  (the  religion)  of  another 
beareth  fear."’ 


t See  above  pp.  150,  et  seq. 


CASTE  IX  THE  LAIV-BOOKS. 


385 


A Ksbatriya  may  take  the  fourth  part  (of  a crop  or  income)  in  time 
of  distress.  (118.) 

Attendance  on  Brahmans  is  the  best  work  of  a Shiidra  ; whatever 
else  he  may  perform  will  be  fruitless  to  him.  (123.) 

“ There  is  no  guilt  in  a Shudra  (who  eats  garlic  and  other  forbidden 
articles).  He  is  not  fit  for  the  Sanskara  (of  initiation).  He  has 
neither  the  right  of  practising  Z)Aarma  (duty),  nor  is  any  restraint 
placed  on  him  in  regard  to  Dharma.”^  (126.)  Moral  duties, 
however,  are  obligatory  upon  him. 

The  eleventh  chapter  of  Manu  is  devoted  principally  to  penance 
and  expiation.  It  begins,  however,  with  certain  laws  as  to  largesses. 
Alms  are  to  be  given  to  Brahmans  seeking  to  marry,  to  sacrifice, 
to  travel ; to  those  who  have  e.xpended  their  wealth  on  sacred  rites, 
and  who  desire  to  maintain  their  guru,  father,  or  mother ; to  those  who 
are  Brahmacharis,  and  those  who  are  afilicted  with  disease.  These  nine 
classes  of  Brahmans  are  Sndtakas  (purified-ones).  Jewels  of  all  sorts 
are  to  be  given  to  Brahmans  knowing  the  Vedas.  What  is  necessary 
to  complete  a sacrifice  may  be  taken  from  any  person,  even  from  a 
Shudra  if  a Vaishya  (or  other  Dvija)  be  not  near,  since  the  Shudra 
has  no  business  with  sacrifice.  A Brahman,  without  being  held  guilty 
of  theft,  may  take  a day’s  food  from  the  party  who  for  three  days  has 
failed  to  supply  his  wants.  A Kshatriya  must  never  seize  the  wealth 
of  a Br^iman.  He  gains  from  the  Brahman  whom  he  protects  a 
sixth  part  of  his  righteousness.  A Brahman  begging  from  a Shudra 
becomes  in  the  next  birth  a Chandala.  IMisappropriating  what  he 
has  begged  for  a sacrifice,  he  becomes  a Chasa,  or  a crow,  for  a hundred 
years.  The  person  who  robs  the  Brahmans  feeds  on  the  orts  of  vul- 
tures in  the  other  world  for  a hundred  years.  A Brahman  skilled  in 
the  law  may  chastise  those  who  injure  him  without  appealing  to  the 
king.  He  may  use  the  Shruti  of  Atharvan  (the  Atharva  Veda)  reveal- 
ed to  Angiras,  for  speech  is  the  weapon  of  a Brahman  to  destroy  his 
enemy,  as  arms  in  the  case  of  a Kshatriya,  and  wealth  in  the  case  of  a 
Vaishya  and  Shudra.  (xi.  1-31.) 

Neither  a girl,  nor  a young  woman,  nor  a man  of  little  learning, 
nor  a dunce,  nor  a diseased  person,  nor  the  uninitiated,  is  permitted 

* This  verse,  which  I have  partially  supplemented  according  to  Kulluka  Bbatta,  has 
eiven  much  trouble  to  modem  commentators. 

49 


386 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


to  sacrifice.  Only  one  who  has  read  all  the  Vedas  must  officiate  at  an 
oblation  to  fire.  (57-8.) 

No  man  must  sacrifice  without  bestowing  liberal  gifts.  (40.)  A 
priest  who  keeps  an  agnihotra,  and  neglects  his  fire,  must  perform  the 
chdndrayana  for  one  month,  his  neglect  being  equal,  to  the  slaughter 
of  a son.  (41.) 

Proceeding  to  enter  more  formally  on  the  doctrine  of  penance, 
IManu  repeats  the  following  noticeable  dicta  : — “ The  wise  say  penance 
(is  effectual)  for  involuntary  sin  ; and  others  say  that  it  is  available, 
from  the  evidence  of  the  Shruti,  even  for  a voluntary  offence.  A 
sin  involuntarily  committed  is  purged  by  Vedic  repetition ; but  an 
offence  committed  intentionally,  through  infatuation,  by  various 
special  penances.”  (45-6.)  For  certain  offences  deliberately  com- 
mitted, thei'e  is  now  no  available  penance. 

Morbid  changes  in  the  body  are  said  to  occur  for  sins  committed  in 
the  present  birth,  or  in  those  by  which  it  has  been  preceded.  To  escape 
these,  penances  ought  to  be  resorted  to.  (48-54.) 

Some  sins  are  thus  classified  ; — 

I.  Mahdpntakas  (Great  Sins). 

Brahmacide,  Sm';ipana  (drinking  of  .spirits),  theft  (of  a Brahman’s 
gold),  adi  Itery  with  the  wife  of  a guru,  and  associating  with  parties 
guilty  of  these  crimes. 

IT.  Patakas  (Sins)  : — 

1.  — False  pretension  (as  to  caste),  bringing  a false  charge  before  a 
king,  falsely  accusing  a guru, — which  are  nearly  equal  to  killing  a 
Brahman. 

2.  Forgetting  the  Brahma  (the  Veda),  showing  contempt  for  the 
Veda,  giving  false  evidence,  killing  a friend^  eating  Avhat  is  forbidden, 
or  what  is  unfit  to  be  tasted,*  which  six  (faults)  are  like  spirit-drinking. 

3.  Appropriating  a deposit,  and  stealing  a man,  ahorse,  silver,  a field, 
a diamond,  or  any  other  gem,  are  nearly  equal  to  stealing  (the  gold  of  a 
Brahman). 

4.  Carnal  dealing  with  sisters  of  the  same  womb,  with  a little 
girl,  with  women  of  the  low  castes,  or  with  the  wife  of  a friend  or  son, 
— which  are  said  to  be  nearly  equal  to  the  violation  of  the  bed  of  a guru. 

* ijff fff 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


387 


III.  UpapdtaJcas,  (Sins  of  a lower  degree)  : — 

Cow-killing,  sacrificing  for  outcastes  (j>atitdh),  adultery,  selling 
oneself ; deserting  a mother,  a father,  a guru,  tho  reading  of  the 
Veda,  the  (sacred)  fire,  or  a son ; the  marriage  of  a younger 
brother  before  the  elder,  or  the  omission  of  the  elder  to  marry 
before  the  younger;  giving  a daughter  to  either  of  them,  or  per- 
forming their  nuptial  sacrifice;  defiling  a damsel,  usury,  breaking 
one’s  vow  (of  chastity  as  a student)  ; selling  a tank,  a garden,  a 
wife,  or  a child;  becoming  a Vratya  (by  neglect  of  initiatory  rites); 
abandoning  a kinsman,  teaching  the  Veda  for  hire,  learning  it  from 
a hireling,  selling  articles  not  to  be  sold,  having  property  in  mines> 
putting  large  machines  to  work,  destroying  medicinal  plants,  living  by 
(the  harlotry  of)  a wife,  preparing  charms  to  destroy,  cutting  down 
green  trees  for  fuel,  performing  rites  for  self-interest,  eating  pro- 
hibited food  (once  without  a previous  design),  neglecting  the  (sacred) 
fire,  theft,  non-payment  of  debts,  having  dealings  with  untrue  Shas- 
tras,*  excessive  attention  to  music  or  dancing,  stealing  grain,  the  base, 
inebils,  or  cattle,  intercourse  with  a drunk  woman  ; killing  a woman,  a 
Shudra,  a Vaishya,  or  a Kshatriya,  atheism. 

IV.  The  Caste  destroying  sins  (in  addition  to  the  preceding,  to 
which  they  are  inferior) ; — 

Giving  pain  to  a Brahman,  smelling  spirituous  liquor  or  anything 
unfit  to  be  smelt,  cheating,  unnatural  practices  with  a male. 

V.  Sins  reducing  a person  to  a mixed  caste : — 

Killing  an  ass,  a horse,  a camel,  an  antelope,  an  elephant,  a goat,  a 
sheep,  a fish,  a snake,  or  a buffalo. 

VI.  Sins  excluding  from  social  repasts  : — 

, Accepting  presents  from  blameable  persons,  engaging  as  a merchant 
(in  the  case  of  a Brahman),  serving  a Shiidra-master,  and  speak- 
ing unturth. 

VII.  Sins  causing  defilement  (mala)  : — 

Killing  an  insect,  a bird,  or  a worm  ; eating  what  has  been  carried 
with  liquor ; stealing  fruit,  wood,  or  flowers  ; and  discomposure  of 
mind.  (55-70.) 

This  classification  of  sins  and  offences,  it  will  be  noticed,  is  made 
altogether  on  the  principles  of  Caste,  which  are  most  remarkable  for 

. The  reference  is  probably  to  Buddhist  works. 


388 


WHAT  CASTE  IS, 


their  partiality.  Killing  a Brahman  and  stealing  his  gold  are  of  com-se 
the  greatest  olFences  which  can  be  committed.  In  a similar  category 
is  placed  the  drinking  of  spirits  by  a Brahman,  The  reason  is  stated 
onwards,  “ A drunk  Brahman  may  fall  on  something  impure,  or 
may  when  intoxicated  make  a Vedic  utterance,  or  perform  some 
unlawful  act,”  (97.)  Eating  things  prohibited  is  more  heinous  than 
incest  and  unnatural  crime,  or  killing  a woman,  a Shudra,  a Vaishya 
or  a Kshatriya.  Even  giving  pain  to  a Brahman  causes  a loss  of  caste. 

The  penances  for  the  offences  committed,  so  far  as  they  are  avail- 
able, are  regulated  on  the  same  caste  principles.  A Brahman  killing 
a Brahman  (inadvertently)  may  dwell  in  a forest  for  a dozen  of  years, 
feeding  on  alms,  and  contemplating  the  skull  of  the  slain.  A Ksha- 
triya doing  this,  has  to  make  himself  a mark  to  archers  or  cast  himself 
thrice  headlong  into  blazing  fire.  A king,  doing  it,  has  to  perform 
(with  great  presents)  one  of  the  six  great  sacrifices.  Alternatives  are 
also  allowed,  among  which  is  the  suiTender,  in  the  case  of  the  rich,  of 
property  to  a Brahman  learned  in  the  Vedas;  or  walking  to  the  source 
of  the  river  Sarasvati.  The  preservation  of  a cow  or  Brahman  atones 
for  brahmacide.  The  stealer  of  the  gold  of  a Brahman  has  (either  to 
the  destruction  of  his  life  or  otherwise)  to  be  struck  by  a king  with 
an  iron  mace  ; but  if  the  offender  be  a Brahman  he  can  get  off  by  the 
performance  of  tjpa.  Caste  lost  by  the  offences  above  specified  vo- 
luntarily committed  is  recovered  by  the  sdntapana,  and  involuntarily, 
by  the  For  exclusion  from  society  the  cJidndr&yana  is 

available.  For  killing  a Kshatriya  the  penance  asked  is  only  the 
fovu'th  part  of  that  required  for  killing  a Brahman ; for  killing  a 
Vaishya,  an  eighth  ; for  killing  a Shudra,  a sixteenth.  If  a Brahman 
kill  a cat,  an  ichneumon,  a Chdsha  (the  Indian  blue  jay),  a frog,  a 
dog,  a lizard,  an  owl,  or  a crow,  he  has  to  perform  the  same  penance 
as  for  killing  a Shudra,  that  is  the  chdndrdyana.  (70-132.)  A 
Brahman  having  connexion  or  eating  with  a Chandala,  or  other  low'- 
caste  woman,  or  receiving  gifts  from  such  a person,  loses  his  own  caste 
if  he  acts  unwittingly,  and  sinks  to  a level  Avith  them  if  he  acts 
wittingly.  (175.)  The  associate  for  a year  of  a fallen  person  falls 
bke  him  ; and  must  perform  his  prescribed  penance.  (176.) 

After  noticing  these  and  other  penances,  Manu  treats  of  the  method 
of  excluding  from  caste.  The  Sapindas  and  other  relatives  of  the 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


389 


patita  must  offer  (to  his  manes  as  if  he  were  dead),  ia  the  evening  of 
an  unlucky  day,  a libation  of  water, — his  connections,  an  officiating 
priest  (Kitsik),  and  his  guru  being  present;  a slave-girl  breaking  the 
pot  (of  water) ; and  the  kinsmen  remaining  impure  for  a day  and 
night.  They  must  afterwards  cease  to  speak  or  to  sit  with  him, 
withhold  all  inheritance  and  property  from  him,  refuse  him  common 
attentions,  and  deprive  him  of  his  rights  of  primogeniture.  Other 
parties  also  must  cease  to  have  any  intercourse  with  him.  A similar 
course  is  to  be  observed  in  the  case  of  outcasted  women,  who  may  be 
permitted,  however,  to  be  humbly  fed,  clothed,  and  lodged  in  huts 
near  the  family  residence.  (183-6-9.)  Manu  contemplates  the  pos- 
sibility of  restoration  to  caste  after  this  formidable  ejection  (187-8); 
but  this  restoration  by  penance,  after  the  breaking  of  the  pot,  seldom, 
if  ever,  now  occurs  in  Indian  society. 

Manu,  as  reported,  again  returns  to  the  subject  of  penances,  the  last 
laws  found  in  the  Sanhita  ascribed  to  him  not  fitting  in  appropriately 
with  those  already  noticed. 

Neglecters  of  the  Gtiyatrf  and  the  sacred  string  (at  the  appointed 
tifne)  are  admissible  to  them  after  penance. 

A person  saying  humph  ! to  a Brahman  must  bathe,  fast  for  a day , 
and  clasp  the  feet  of  the  offended  party.  (205.)  For  striking  a Brah- 
man with  a blade  of  grass,  tying  him  by  the  neck  with  a cloth,  and  over- 
powering him  in  argument,  the  offender  must  fall  prostrate  before  him. 
(207.)  A person  intending  to  strike  a Brahman  with  intent  to  kill 
remains  in  hell  a hundred  years,  actually  striking  him,  a thousand. 
Every  drop  of  a Brahman’s  blood  shed  and  attracting  particles  of  dust, 
demands  a thousand  years’  torment  for  each  of  these  particles. 
(206-7.) 

The  prescribed  penances  are  next  explained,  and  those  of  the  Praja- 
patya,  Santapana,  etc.,  but  in  a way  somewhat  different  from  that  stated 
in  the  notes  above  appended  to  Angiras,  which  correspond  with  the 
prevalentBrahmanical  interpretation.  (211-226.)  The  alleged  benefits 
of  penance  and  repentance  are  stated  at  length.  Tapa  is  declared  to  be 
all-prevalent.  (240.) 

Even  in  connexion  with  the  future  world,  the  subject  principally 
treated  of  in  the  twelfth,  or  last,  chapter  of  Manu,  Caste  is  made  to 
appear  with  all  its  pretensions  and  partialities. 


390 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


When  treating  of  the  three  qualities  of  Satva,  Baja,  and  Tama 
(purity,  passion,  and  darkness),  said  to  be  inherent  in  the  productions 
as  well  as  in  the  essence  of  Deity,  and  their  connexion  with  transmi- 
gration and  their  division  into  their  conditions  of  the 

lowest,  the  mean,  and  the  highest,  he  places  SMdras  and  illlechchlias, 
with  elephants,  horses,  lions,  tigers,  and  boars  in  the  middle  condition 
of  the  T'amasa  quality; — only  worms,  insects,  reptiles,  etc.  being  below 
them  ; while  Chdranas,  Suparnas,  and  “ deceitful  men,”  and  even  the 
devilish  Rakshasas  and  Pishachas,  are  put  above  them  in  the  highest 
place  of  this  quality,  (xii.  41-44.)  JliaUas,  Mallas,  and  Natas  (said 
by  the  commentator  to  be  Vratyas  of  the  Kshatriyas,)  Manu  places  in  the 
Eajasa  condition,  above  all  the  parties  above  mentioned.  Of  course 
the  Brahmans  are  placed  in  the  condition  of  purity,  accord- 
ing to  their  own  grades  ; — devotees  (Tapasvis),  mendicants  (Yatis), 
and  common  Brahmans  (Vipras)  arriving  at  the  lowest  state  of 
purity  ; sacrificers  and  Rishis,  at  the  middle;  and  Brahma  and  the 
Brahmans  participating  in  creation  (the  Prajapatis)  at  the  highest, 
(xii.  48-50.) 

The  slayer  of  a Brahman  must  enter  the  body  of  a dog,  a boar,  an 
ass,  a camel,  a bull,  a goat,  a sheep,  a stag,  a bird,  or  of  a Chanddla 
or  Pukkasha.  (55.)  The  stealer  of  the  gold  (of  a Brahman)  must 
pass  a thousand  times  into  the  bodies  of  spiders,  snakes,  etc.  (57.) 
Individuals  of  the  four  Variias  for  omitting  their  peculiar  (Caste)  duties 
must  enter  sinful  bodies,  and  become  slaves  to  their  foes.  A Brdh- 
man  making  this  omission  becomes  an  Ulkamukha,  (with  a mouth  like  a 
flame  of  fire,)  and  devours  what  is  vomited  ; a Kshatriya,  a Kataputana, 
and  eats  ordure  and  dead  bodies  ; a Vaishya,  a Maitrakshajyotika,  and 
feeds  on  pus  : and  a Shudra,  a Chailashaka,  and  feeds  on  lice.  (70-2.) 

The  Brahmans,  from  their  caste  position  and  the  possession  of  the 
knowledge  of  spirit  (atmajndna)  and  of  the  Veda  are  said  to  have  pecu- 
liar facilities  for  the  attainment  of  future  bliss.  (82-87.)  As  fire 
consumes  with  its  own  power  living  trees  so  he  who  knows  the  Vedas 
consumes  the  taint  of  his  own  (sinful)  acts.  (101.)*  On  the  failure  of 
ocular  inspection  of  liie  Vedas,  of  inference,  and  of  the  Shastra,  that 
which  instructed  Brahmans  propound  is  to  be  held  to  be  indubitable 
law.  (105,  109.) 

♦ This  sentence  is  a Brahmanical  proverb.  We  have  met  it  before  in  Angiras  (shloka  102). 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


391 


Tlie  contents  of  tlie  larger  portion  of  the  YajnavaLkya 
Smriti  and  of  the  comment  upon  it  of  Vijnaneshvara,  con- 
tained in  tlie  Mitakshara,  are  given  by  the  late  Mr. 
BoiTodaile,  of  the  Bombay  Civil  Service,  in  the  Appendix 
to  His  Reports  of  Civil  Causes  decided  by  the  Bombay 
Court  of  Sadar  Adalat.*  Better  Indices  (in  Sanskrit) 
are  contained  in  the  Calcutta  edition  of  the  work  published 
in  1813,  and  in  the  Bombay  lithographed  edition  of  1863. 
After  the  extracts  now  made  from  Mann,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary for  the  objects  of  this  work  that  the  references  to  that 
Law-book  should  be  very  numerous. 

The  Shruti,  Smriti,  pure  A'chdra,  love  of  one’s  soul  (or  self),  and 
good  desires  are  thefoundations  of  religion,  (i.  1-7.) 

The  mantras,  or  sacred  texts,  in  the  Sanskaras,  or  Sacraments,  are 
to  be  used  by  Dvijas,  but  not  by  Shiidras. 

The  teacher  should  instruct  his  disciple  in  Shaucha  and  A'chara, 
(cei-emonial  purity  and  observance)  before  teaching  the  Vedas.  (1.2.7.) 

A Brahman  should  receive  the  TJpanayana  in  his  eighth  year  from 
conception  or  birth  ; a Kshatriya,  in  his  eleventh  ; and  a Vai.shya,  in 
liis  twelfth.  A Brahman  not  receiving  it  before  his  sixteenth  year,  a 
Kshatriya  before  his  twenty-second  year,  and  a Vaishya  before  his 
twenty-fourth  year,  are  to  be  esteemed  Vrdtyas  and  fallen  from  the 
Savitrl.  (i.  6.  29.) 

During  eating,  silence  has  to  be  maintained ; and  water  has  to  be 
drunk  before  and  after  eating. 

In  connexion  with  the  duties  of  a householder  the  following  instruc- 
tions are  given.  The  purification  and  relief  of  the  body  are  to  be 
attended  to.  The  teeth  are  to  be  rinsed.  The  Homa  is  to  be  per- 
formed moi-ning  and  evening.  The  Vedas  and  Shastras  are  to  be 
studied.  The  worship  of  God  is  to  b^^  conducted.  Water  is  to  be 
poured  out  to  the  gods  and  ancestors.  The  Vedas,  Puranas,  Itihiisas 
and  what  treats  of  the  Soul,  are  to  be  repeated.  Balikarma  (sacrifice 
to  ghosts),  Svadha  (sacrifice  to  ancestors),  Homa  (sacrifice  to  the  gods), 

* Printed  for  Government  in  1821. 


I 


I 


392 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Svadhyaya  (sacrifice  to  Brahma),  and  hospitality  to  men,  are  the  five 
daily  great  sacrifices.  A portion  of  the  food  used  in  these  sacraments 
is  to  be  thrown  to  dogs,  Chandalas,  and  crows.  Then,  husband  and 
wife,  after  other  inmates  of  the  family  are  satisfied,  have  to  eat 
what  remains,  (i.  5.  1-30.) 

The  following  are  said  to  be  the  common  duties  universally  of  all 
men: — Abstinence  from  killing,  truthfulness,  abstinence  from  theft, 
(ceremonial)  purity,  the  control  of  the  senses,  the  imparting  of  gifts, 
eelfcommand,  compassion,  endurance."^'  (15.  26.) 

A Brahman  sacrificing  Avith  what  he  has  begged  fi-om  a Shudra 
becomes  a Chandala;  and  not  sacrificing  with  what  he  has  got  for  a 
sacrifice,  he  becomes  a hlidsa,  or  a croAv.  (1.  5.  31.) 

No  intercourse  is  to  be  maintained  by  Snatakas  with  hypocrites,  or 
heretics.  (1.6.  2.)  They  are  to  dress  in  AA'hite  clothing,  (ib.  3.) 
Nature  is  not  to  be  relieved  in  rivers  (Avhich  are  esteemed  sacred). 
The  couch,  stonl,  garden,  house,  or  conveyance  of  any  other  party  is 
not  to  be  used  by  a Snataka.  He  is  to  take  no  food  from  a party  not 
using  the  sacred  fire.  (ib.  32.)  As  stated  by  Augiras,  the  Dasa, 
Cowherd,  Kulamitra,  Ardhasirina,  and  Barber  may  eat  with  the  Shudra. 
(ib.  38.) 

The  legislation  of  Yajnavalkya  on  the  subject  of  eatables  and  non- 
eatables is  similar  to  that  of  Manu.  Flesh  procured  for  profane  purposes 
or  Avith  hair  or  maggots ; food  prepared  for  another  party,  or  prepared 
on  a preceding  day  and  left  by  another,  and  touched  by  dogs  or  a 
woman  in  her  courses,  breathed  on  by  cows,  left  by  birds,  or  touched 
by  a foot,  is  not  to  be  ate.  Food  of  ghrita  or  other  liquids,  wheat, 
barley,  and  coav’s  milk,  though  prepared  beforehand,  may  be  talten. 
The  milk  of  the  cow  is  not  to  be  taken  till  the  tenth  day  after  the 
cahdng.  For  eating  intentionally  the  flesh  of  the  jay,  of  red-footed 
(birds),  and  of  fishes,  fasting  is  to  be  obserA^ed  for  three  days.  The 
Chandrayana  is  to  be  performed  for  eating  onions,  village-pigs,  mush- 
rooms, village-foAvls,  leeks,  and  carrots.  Of  certain  five-claAved  animals 
he  may  eat  as  already  intimated  (i.  7)  by  Manu.f  But,  in  the  case  of 

f See  before  p.  32. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


393 


Brdlimans,  all  use  of  animal  food  is  now  discouraged,  though  it  is  re- 
sorted to  by  certain  classes  of  them. 

On  the  purification  of  articles,  the  legislation  of  Ydjnavalkya  is 
similar  to  that  of  Angiras.  (i.  8.) 

The  section  on  Danadharma  (or  largesses)  opens  with  the  praise  of 
the  Brahmans,  who  are  to  be  the  objects  of  the  liberality  prescribed. 
The  gift  of  a cow  with  the  calf  half-born  is  the  best  of  all  gifts  ; it  is 
like  that  of  the  earth  itself.  The  giver  obtains  by  it  a year  of  heaven- 
ly bliss  for  every  hair  of  its  body.  Gold,  tila-seeds,  lamps,  gi-ains, 
trees,  horses,  chariots,  couches,  etc.,  etc.,  are  suitable  gifts,  (i.  9.) 

For  the  performance  of  Shraddhas,  either  on  the  occasion  of  births, 
deaths,  eclipses,  or  the  (ninety-six)  established  occasions  in  a year 
connected  with  days  and  months.  Brahmans  learned  in  all  the  A^^das, 
skilled  in  the  knowledge  of  Brahma,  and  various  relatives,  are  to  be 
called.  Brahmans  diseased,  blind  of  an  eye,  of  loose  character,  of 
adulterous  origin,  with  badnails,  w'ith  black  teeth,  imperfectly  clothed, 
of  evil  speech,  practising  merchandise,  teaching  for  hire,  without  man- 
hood, practising  fornication,  disaffected  to  friends,  backbiters,  sellers  of 
the  Soma,  abandoners  of  gurus  or  parents,  eaters  with  Kunda-golakas, 
holders  of  intercourse  with  outcastes,  thievish,  of  bad  conduct,  and 
of  bad  report,  are  not  to  be  invited,  (i.  10  3-8.) 

The  propitiating  of  Ganapati  and  of  the  planets,  which  is  treated  of 
at  some  length,  is  the  duty  of  all  castes,  though  particularly  binding 
on  the  prince,  (i.  11,  12.) 

The  duties  of  the  prince  are  laid  down,  somewhat  after  Manu,  with 
certain  variations.  When  he  gives  land  to  Brahmans,  the  deed  of  gift 
should  be  on  cloth  or  on  copper-plates,  with  his  seal  and  the  names 
of  himself  and  ancestry  attached,  (i.  13.  10-12).  He  is  encouraged 
to  give  in  charity  of  the  fruits  of  his  valour  ; and  he  is  a.ssured  that 
pai’adise  {svarga)  will  be  the  result  of  his  death  in  battle,  (ib.  15-16)- 
lie  has  to  preserve  the  deshdchdra  and  Kulusthiti  (the  customs  of  coun- 
tries and  families.)  (ib.  35.) 

In  the  second  chapter,  which  treats  of  Vyavalidra,  or  the  Law  of  Com- 
mon Life,  in  which  the  legislation  is  of  a character  superior  to  that  of  the 
first,  — there  is  but  little  directly  connected  with  Caste.  Yet  some  impor- 
tant matters  are  to  be  noted  in  it.  In  discharge  of  debt,  the  claims  of 
the  Brahmans,  and  next  in  oi’der  those  of  Kshatriyas,  Vaisliyas,  and 

50 


394 


W'HAT  CASTE  IS. 


Shudras  respectively,  are  to  be  regarded,  (li.  2.  5.)  The  convenience  oi 
Brahmans  is  to  be  consulted  in  the  payment  of  their  debts,  (ib.  7.) 

son  sliould  pay  the  debts  of  a father  not  heard  of,  or  deceased,  or  in- 
capacitated [according  to  Vijnaneshvara,  on  the  authority  ofNarada, 
when  he  has  the  power  of  administration  oil  becoming  sixteen  years  of 
age.]  Corporal  punishment  is  not  be  inflicted  on  Bnilimans.  (ib.  ii.  3. 12.) 
Double  or  triple  punishment  is  to  be  inflicted  on  the  revilers  of  the 
Pratiloma  Castes,*  while  only  half  punishment  is  to  be  inflicted 
on  the  revilers  of  the  Anuloma.  The  revilers  of  Brahmans,  kings, 
and  gods  are  to  be  punished  according  to  the  uttama  sahas  (in  the 
highest  degree,  with  a fine  of  1,000  panas)  ; of  the  other  castes,  with 
the  madJiyama  sahas,  (the  middle  degree,  of  500  panas ; and  of  towns 
and  countries  with  the  prathama  sahas  (the  first  degree,  of  250  panas). 
(ii.  16-1-8.)  A person  not  a Brahman  giving  pain  to  a Brahman 
should  lose  the  member  by  which  he  has  oflTended  him  ; threatening 
a Brahman  with  an  upraised  weapon,  he  should  suffer  the  prathama 
sahasa  ; and  merely  touching  a weapon  in  the  thought  of  using  it 
against  a Brdhman,  he  should  suffer  the  half  of  this  punishment, 
(ii.  17-4.)  A man  committing  adultery  in  his  own  caste  is  to  be  pun- 
ished according  to  the  highest  scale ; with  a person  lower  than  his  own 
caste,  according  to  the  middle  class;  and  with  a pei’son,  higher  in  caste 
than  himself,  with  death,  while  the  woman  is  to  be  deprived  of  her 
ears  and  nose.  Persons  carrying  off  girls  of  higher  ca.ste  than  their 
own  are  to  be  punished  with  death.  A person  of  high  caste  having 
intercoui'se  with  a low  caste  woman  desiring  it  is  guiltless  ; but  having 
intercourse  with  such  a person  not  desiring  it  he  is  blame-worthy, 
(ii.  22.  4-6.)  A person  of  caste  having  intercourse  with  an  antyaja 
woman,  is  to  be  stamped  with  a mark,  or  abandoned  in  disgrace.  A 
Shiidra  having  intercourse  w'ith  an  antyaja  woman  becomes  an  antyaja. 
An  antyaja  having  intercourse  with  an  Aryan  woman  is  to  be  put  to 
death,  (ii.  22-12.)  Any  person  defiling  a Brahman  by  an  article 
forbidden  to  be  ate  is  to  be  jninished  with  the  highest  fine  ; thus  de- 
filing a Kshatriya,  with  the  middle  fine  ; thus  defiling  a Vaishiya,  with 
the  low  fine  ; and  thus  defiling  a Shiidra  with  the  half  of  the  low  fine, 
(ii.  23.  2.)  A Shiidra,  assuming  the  marks  of  a Bi  ahman  should  he 
fined  eight  hundred  panas.  In  this  legislation,  there  is  only  a general 
* See  before  pp.  63-64. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


395 


agreement  with  tliat  of  tlie  other  Smriti,s.  For  much  of  Vijnaneslivara’a 
Commentary  on  Yajnavalkya  there  is  no  foundation  in  the  text.  The 
annotator,  as  he  proceeds,  draw.s  copiously  on  other  authorities. 

A child  dying  before  the  completion  of  its  second  year  is  to  be 
buried  and  not  burned,  (iii.  1.  1.)  The  ceremonies  needful  on  burn- 
ing the  dead  are  not  to  be  repeated  in  the  case  of  Brahraacharis  and 
the  degraded,  or  in  the  case  of  heretics,  the  unprotected,  fratricides, 
sensualists,  drunkards,  or  suicides,  (ib.  5-6.)  The  great  source  of 
comfort  held  out  to  the  bereaved  is  the  fact  that  death  is  the  resolution 
of  the  body  into  the  five  elements.  (9.)  Persons  who  may  have  car- 
ried the  dead  to  be  burned  should  not  be  touched  for  a day.  (16.) 
Parents  are  ceremonially  unclean  for  three  or  for  ten  days  after  the 
death  of  a child  not  older  than  two  years.  (18.)*  A Kshatriya  is 
impure  for  twelve  days,  a Vaishya,  for  fifteen,  and  a Sluidra  for 
thirty,  (while  a Brahman  is  impure  only  for  ten  days),  on  occasion 
of  the  death  of  an  adult  relative.  (22.)  No  Sluidra  should  attend  the 
burning  of  a Dvija  ; and  no  Dvija,  that  of  a Sluidra.  A king  does  not 
become  impure  by  the  death  of  his  relations  ; and  no  impurity  arises 
from  those  who  die  in  defence  of  cows  and  Brahmans.  (27.) 

In  times  of  distress,  a Brahman  may  follow  the  Dharma  of  a Ksha- 
triya or  of  a Vaishya  (iii.  2.  1),  abstaining,  however, 'from  selling 
forbidden  articles  (2-4). 

The  origin  of  the  four  castes  is  stated  according  to  the  orthodox 
view.  (iii.  4.  71.) 

Atonements  for  varioirs  offences  are  prescribed  as  in  IManu.  (iii.  6.) 
In  the  case  of  Mahapatakas  a Sluidra  has  not  the  privilege  of  Jdjta  (re- 
peating mantras)  and  some  other  ceremonial  observances  of  the  higher 
castes  ; but  by  using  the  other  means  prescribed  for  twelve  years,  he 
may  make  an  atonement  for  his  offences  under  this  heading,  (iii.  7.1.) 

A thousand  oxen  or  cows  are  to  be  given  for  the  homicide  of  a 
Kshatriya,  or  a Vrata  for  the  slaughter  of  a Brahman,  observed  for 
three  years  ;f  a hundred  cows  for  that  of  a Vaishya,  or  a Vrata  for 

* The  difference  about  the  time  of  impurity  in  this  instance  is  attributed  to  the 
different  teachings  of  the  authors  of  the  Smritis.  Manu  mentions  ten  days  for  its  con- 
tinuance. 

t In  the  case  of  the  in.advertent  slaughter  of  a Brahman,  the  penitential  Vrata  (begging 
with  a skull  in  hand)  has  to  last  for  twelve  years,  (iii.  6.  37.) 


396 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


one  year  ; ten  cows  for  that  of  a Shiidra,  or  a Vrata  (a  voluntarily 
imposed  penance)  of  six  months,  (iii.  8.  2-3.) 

For  the  slaughter  of  a bad  wife  of  a Brahman,  a leather  skin 
for  drawing  water  has  to  be  given  ; for  that  of  a Kshatriya,  a bow  ; 
for  that  of  a Yaishya,  a goat  ; for  that  of  a Shudra,  a ram,  (iii.  8.  4)  ; 
and  tor  the  slaughter  ol  a good  woman  what  is  given  for  the  slaughter 
of  a Shudra.  (5.) 

The  benefits  of  hearing  or  repeating  the  Smriti  of  Yajnavalkya  are 
said,  at  the  close  of  the  treatise,  to  be  great  indeed.  It  makes  a Brah- 
man venerable,  a Kshatriya  victorious,  and  a Vaishya  rich  and  pros- 
perous. The  poor  Shudra  has  to  be  satisfied  with  the  information  he 
may  get  of  it  from  the  Dvijas,  according  to  his  exigencies  as  they  may 
occur. 

Ill  the  Pardshara  Smriti,  the  general  contents  of  which 
I have  already  noticed, no  regular  arrangement  is  ob- 
served. The  work  is  reckoned  a great  authority  in  the 
Kali  Yuga  ; and  it  is  evidently  more  modern  than  some 
of  the  other  law  collections  of  its  class-  It  gives  the 
following  list  of  Smritis  at  its  commencement  : — those 
of  Manu,  Garga,  Gautama,  Vasi.fhtlia,  Kashyapa,  Gopala,f 
Atri,  Vishnu,  SanvarUa,  Daksha,  Angiras,  Shatatapa, 
Harita,  Yajnavalkya,  vV'pastamba,  Shankha  and  Likhita, 
Katyayana,  Pracheta,  and  Shrutiraja  (Parashara  1 ). 
Manu,  it  is  added,  prevailed  as  an  authority  in  the 
three  first  Yugas,  while  the  Akhava  of  the  three  Yogas 
is  not  for  the  present  Kali  Yuga.  Tupa  ivas  the 
highest  duty  in  the  Krita  Yuga;  knowledge,  in  the 
Treta;  and  sacrifice  in  the  Dvapara  ; while  the  giving 
of  largesses  is  the  highest  duty  in  the  Kali.  The 
Dharma  (religious  law)  of  Manu  was  for  the  Krita  ; 

* At  p.  357. 

t In  the  copy  referred  to  by  Dr.  Stenzler  (lud.  Stud.  i.  232)  the 
name  of  Ushanas  liere  occurs  for  that  of  Gopala. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


397 


that  of  Gautama  for  the  Treta ; that  of  Sliankha 
and  Likhita  for  tlie  Dvapara  ; and  tliat  of  Parashara  is 
for  the  Kali.  The  party  guilty  of  a fault  infected  a 
country  in  the  Krita  Yuga  ; in  the  Treta^  a village;  in 
the  Dvapara,  his  fan)ily  ; and  in  the  Kali,  himself.  A 
person  hecawe  jyat/la  (fallen  from  caste)  in  the  Krita, 
by  conversation  ; in  the  Treta,  by  contact;  and  in  the 
Dvapara,  by  eating  (forbidden)  food  ; -while  in  the 
Kali,  by  deeds.  In  the  Krita  largesses  were  taken 
to  the  house  (of  the  party  to  be  benefited  by  them)  ; in 
the  Treta,  by  calling  him  to  receive  them)  ; and  in  the 
Dvapara,  by  simply  relieving  the  asker  ; while  in  the 
Kali,  they  are  to  be  bestowed  only  for  service.  In  the 
Krita,  the  pranas  (five  vital  airs)  were  in  the  elements 
(of  the  body)  ; in  the  Treta,  in  the  flesh  ; in  the  Dvaj)ara, 
in  the  blood  ; while,  in  the  Kali,  they  are  in  the  food. 
The  Dvijas  are  not  to-be  blamed  for  the  peculiarities  of 
the  respective  Yugas.  In  the  Krita,  curses  took  imme- 
diate effect  ; in  the  Treta  after  ten  days  ; in  the  Dvapara, 
after  a month  ; while  in  the  Kali  Yuga,  after  one  year."'^ 
Pure  religion  and  truth  in  the  Kali  have  only  a fourth 
part  of  their  proper  dimensions.  Life  is  shortened  (in  this 
Yuga)  by  eating  forbidden  things.  Dharina  and  tapa 
are  practised  only  for  ostentation.  There  will  be  much 
false  speaking  for  the  sake  of  wealth.  Little  milk  will  be 
yielded  by  cows  ? The  earth  will  yield  but  little  grain. 
Woman  will  bear  only  females.  The  intercourse  of 
the  sexes  will  be  only  for  pleasure.  Princes  (Bhupalas} 

* Professor  Mouier  Williams  correctly  says,  in  liis  excellent  In- 
augural Lecture,  that  the  curse  of  a Brahman  is  always  supposed 
among  the  Hindus  to  take  effect  sooner  or  later. 


398 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


will  be  subjected  to  Dasyus.  Sliudras  will  have  the 
A'chara  of  Brahmans  ; and  the  Dvijas  that  of  Shudras. 
The  high  castes  (adyavarnas)  will  earn  their  livelihood  like 
the  lowest  (antyajas).  The  KritaYuga  was  for  the  Brah- 
mans ; the  Treta  for  the  Kshatriyas  ; the  Dvapara  for  the 
Vaishyas  ; and  the  Kali  is  for  the  Shudras.  Womenof  the 
lower  Castes  will  not  be  married  with  the  higher  according 
to  the  law  which  permitted  the  Dvijas  to  add  to  the  wife 
of  their  own  class  one  from  each  of  the  lower  of  the  four 
Varnas.  Duty  and  sin  will  be  commingled.  The  merit 
which  was  of  a million  deo-rees  of  fruit  in  the  Krita  was  of 
a hundred  thousand  in  the  Treta,  of  ten  thousand  in  the 
Dvapara,  and  will  be  of  a hundred  in  the  Kali- 
(i.  1-13-39.)  Specific  legislation  follows  this  general 
account  of  the  modifications  caused  by  the  Yugas. 

The  Dvijas  should  live  where  the  black  antelope  moves,  between  the 
Himavat  and  the  Vindhya,  where  the  ocean-going  rivers  flow,  where 
the  great  tirthas  are  found,  and  where  the  Kishis  dwell.  This  is  the 
land  of  purity  ; but  Shudras  may  live  where  they  are  inclined.  The 
countiy  is  bad  where  things  not  to  be  drunk  are  drunk,  not  to  be  eaten 
are  eaten,  and  where  unlawful  connexions  are  formed,  (i.  1-40-45.) 

A Biahman  may  give  food  to  a Kshatriya,  a Vaishya,  or  a Shudra 
visiting  him  at  the  time  of  a meal.  (i.  6.  12-13.) 

The  general  duties  of  the  four  Varnas  are  laid  down  as  in  Manu 
and  the  other  Smritis.  It  is  declared,  however,  to  be  a sin,  even  on 
the  part  of  a Shudra,  to  sell  spirits  or  flesh,  (i.  7.  1-14.) 

The  water  thrown  (for  consecration)  on  the  horn  of  a cow  is  sixteen 
times  better  than  that  of  all  the  tirthas  of  the  rivers  and  oceans  of  the 
earth,  (i.  8.  28.) 

Ifa  Dvija  eat  food  on  the  last  day  of  the  moon  {chandrahshaya 
vulgo  amdvdsjja)  he  will  lose  his  merit  for  the  month,  (i.  8.  37.) 

The  achara  offiimilies  and  countries  is  strongly  inculcated  on  all 
classes  of  people,  as  their  supreme  duty.  (i.  9.  200.) 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


399 


A Shu  Ira  is  in  the  matter  of  ddna  to  be  reckoned  like  a fool,  to  whom 
nothing  is  to  be  given,  (i.  9.  217.) 

A Dvija  eating  of  the  food  of  a person  not  on  the  right  road,  or  of  a 
mean  person,  becomes  instantly  like  a Sluidra  ; and  after  deatli  he  be- 
comes a village-pig  {yilashukara).  He  who  eats  the  food  of  a usurer,  or  of 
a shepherd,  or  of  a person  who  has  lost  caste,  goes  to  hell.  A Dvija 
eating  from  the  hands  of  a Sluidra  wife  goes  to  the  Eaurava  hell, 
(i.  9.  284.) 

Dvijas  should  not  perform  any  religious  services  or  sacrifices  to  get 
gifts  from  Shudras,  on  the  penalty  of  becoming  chandalas.  (i.  9.  293) 

Animal  food  may  be  ate  at  Shraddhas  and  sacrifices,  and  in  times  of 
famine,  (i.  9.  S17.) 

The  following  classes  of  Brahmans  are  not  to  be  employed  at  Shrad- 
dhas:— The  blind  of  an  eye,  he  who  has  broken  a contract  of  mari  iage, 
a diseased  person,  a backbiter,  a usurer,  an  ungrateful  person,  a wrath- 
ful person,  a hater  of  friends,  a person  with  bad  nails  or  black  teeth, 
one  wanting  a limb  or  having  a superfluous  limb,  a eunuch,  one  of 
bad  report,  one  of  bad  speech,  one  who  teaches  for  hire,  a polluter  of 
virgins,  a shopkeeper,  a seller  of  the  Soma,  one  ruled  by  his  wife, 
one  of  illegitimate  birth,  a forsaker  of  his  parents,  a thief,  a vrishalipati, 
one  ignorant  of  his  own  duties,  one  who  has  a wife  who  has  been  before 
married,  a goatherd  or  keeper  of  buffaloes,  one  accused  of  evil  deeds, 
a receiver  of  unlawful  presents,  one  who  habitually  lives  on  alms,  an 
astrologer  or  a messenger,  one  who,  after  eating  on  the  burning-ground 
on  the  eleventh  day  after  the  death,  has  not  taken  the  prescribed 
atonement,  etc.,  etc.  (v.  1-12.) 

Arrangements  should  be  made  to  prevent  Brahmans  at  Shraddhas 
imitating  the  sound  of  Shudras,  swine,  cocks,  (v.  58.) 

A Brahman  begging  regularly  from  low  caste  people,  from  Mlench- 
has,  and  distillers,  is  pronounced  a Baka,  or  heron,  (v.  53.) 

In  the  case  of  death  or  birth  there  is  no  impurity  to  the  liberal,  to 
those  who  are  addicted  to  making  vows,  to  poets,  to  saci  ificers,  to  Agni- 
hotris,  to  the  .skilled  in  the  six-Angas  (of  the  Vedas),  to  a king,  to  a 
persons  skilled  in  the  shruti.  In  the  kali  (yuga)  there  is  no  impurity 
except  what  may  be  removed  by  immediate  ablution.  A Brahman  at- 
tending the  funeral  of  a Shiidra  is  impure  for  three  days.  (vi.  11-12  ) 

If  a Dvija  be  touched  by  a Chaudala  when  making  water,  he  must 


400 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


fast  for  six  nights.  If  a Brahman  when  eating  be  touched  by  anothe  r 
Braliman,  lie  must  sip  water  and  repeat  the  names  of  Vishnu;  if  a 
he  be  touched  by  a Kshatriya,  he  must  fast  till  night ; if,  by  a 
Vaishj'a,  he  must  iu  addition  to  this  fast,  swallow  the  five  products  of 
the  cow;  if  by  a Sluidra,  or  a dog,  he  must  fast  for  a day  and  night; 
if  by  a washerman,  or  other  low  castes,  he  must  perform  the  half  of 
the  prajapatya  penance.  If  a Brahman  when  eating  be  touched 
by  a woman  who  is  impure  from  a birth  or  restraint,  or  by  a Mlen- 
chha,  he  must  fiist  till  sunset,  and  bathe  in  water  kept  for  a day. 
(vi.  48-57.) 

Shabaras,  Pulindas,  Kikatas  (aboriginal  tribes),  and  Natas  are  like 
washermen.  If  a Vaishya  go  to  a woman  of  the  washerman  caste,  he 
has  to  take  cow’s  urine,  and  half-ripe  barley  for  six  days,  or  perform 
a double  krichhra.  (vi.  312-314.) 

The  rules  for  defilement  in  eating  given  by  Parashara  are  similar  to 
those  of  Angiras. 

Food  cooked  in  the  Louse  of  a Shudra  may  be  ate  at  a river  when 
sprinkled  with  its  water,  accompanied  by  a repetition  of  the  Gayatn'. 
Unboiled  grain,  flesh,  clarified  butter,  honey,  oil,  and  different  kinds  of 
fruits  are  impure  while  they  are  in  the  vessels  of  Mlenchhas,  but  pure, 
when  taken  from  them.*  Milk,  cui-ds,  and  clarified  butter  are  pure 
when  in  the  vessels  of  the  Abhiras  (viewed  as  cowherds).  Market 
wares  ai'e  pure  while  in  the  hands  of  the  venders,  (vi.  315-324.) 
The  rules  for  the  cleansing  of  vessels  are  like  those  of  Angiras 
and  Manu. 

A Brahman  is  not  to  accept  gifts  when  in  a state  of  impurity  from 
births  or  deaths.  When  he  receives  gifts  from  a Brahman,  he  has  to  ac- 
knowledge them  in  a loud  voice  ; from  a Rajanya,  in  a gentle  voice ; 
from  a Vaishya,  in  a whisper  ; and  from  a Shudra,  in  his  own  mind. 
With  a Brahman,  he  has  to  commence  by  saying  Om  ; with  a king  he  has 
to  utter  thanks  without  the  Om ; with  a Vaishya,  to  whisper  thanks  ; 
and  with  a Sluidra,  to  wish  thanks,  imagining  himself  to  say,  svasti 
(this  is  good),  (vii.  82-88.) 

The  whole  administration  of  Shdnti,  or  propitiation,  of  the  god.s, 

* From  the  specification  of  the  Jllenchhas,  or  Barbarians,  iu  connexion  with  these 
products,  it  seems  to  be  warrantable  to  infer  that  the  articles  were  sometimes 
imported  into  India  at  least  from  the  neighbouring  provinces. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


401 


elements,  devils,  etc.,  and  of  houses,  temples,  tanks,  etc.  is  in  the 
hands  of  the  Brahmans  (ix,  passim). 

The  M-ork  concludes  with  a statement  of  the  doctrines  and  practices 
connected  with  the  Yoga. 

The  best  digest  of  Hindu  law,  all  things  considered, 
is  probably  to  be  found  in  the  Mayukha  of  Kamalakara 
Bhatta,  to  which  reference  has  already  been  made.  Its 
twelve  Bays,  or  divisions,  are  not  always  arranged  in 
the  same  order.  With  a view  to  indicate  the  applica- 
tion of  these  divisions  to  such  of  the  social  customs  of  the 
Hindus  as  are  more  or  less  connected  with  Caste,  I notice 
their  contents,  at  greater  or  less  length,  as  needful  for 
the  objects  of  this  Avork. 

(1.)  In  the  Sanskdra  Mayukha^  after  some  general 
references  to  the  authoritative  literature  of  the  Hindus, 
Ave  liaA'e  notices  of  eleA^en  of  the  sixteen  Sacraments,  in 
connexion  with  Avhich  the  peculiarities  of  the  four  A'sh- 
ramas  of  the  Brahmans,  and  the  general  duties  of 
Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  Shiidras,  and  Avomen  are  treated 
of.  In  this  department  of  the  Avork,  howeA^er,  there  is 
nothing  which  AA^e  haA’e  not  already  noticed. 

(2.)  In  the  Shunti  Mayiikha^  which  treats  of  the 
propitiation  of  the  gods  and  other  objects  of  fear,  Ave 
ha\"e  the  following  principal  sections : — ■ 

The  worship  (pujd)  of  Ganapati. 

The  ablution  ( sndpana ) of  Yinayaka  (Ganapati). 

Sacrifice  to  the  Planets. 

Characteristics  (for  good  or  evil)  of  the  Planets. 

Characteristics  of  Ganapati  and  of  the  Lokapiflas  (guardians  of 
the  Cardinal  Points). 

Directions  for  the  Homas  (bnmt-sacrlfices)  of  100,000,  1,000,000, 
or  100,000,000  dhutis,  or  oblations. 

The  Puja  of  Houses. 


hi 


402 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Tlie  Puj«a  of  the  Arches  of  Gateways. 

The  Puja  of  objects  resembling  the  Deities,  as  of  Nandi,  Garuda,  etc. 

The  Propitiation  of  the  Grahayogas  (conjunctions  of  the  Planets). 

The  Propitiation  of  the  Planets,  in  their  individuality. 

The  Propitiation  of  Raliu  and  Ketu,  (the  ascending  and  descending 
Nodes),  hut  viewed  as  devils  seizing  the  sun  and  moon,  and  causing 
their  eclipse. 

The  Arka-Vivaha,  the  third  marriage  of  a Brahman,  made  first  to 
the  Asclepias  gigantea,  and  afterwards  to  the  bride.* 

The  Shanti  of  a woman’s  courses. 

The  Shanti  of  the  birth  of  a calf. 

Tlie  Shanti  of  new  teeth. 

Tlie  Shanti  of  a birth  occm-ring  on  the  fourteenth  day  of  the  decrease 
of  the  moon. 

The  Shanti  of  the  full-moon,  and  of  the  last  day  of  the  moon. 

The  Shanti  of  a birth  occurring  on  the  day  of  the  new  moon. 

The  Shanti  of  the  Nakshatras  (Lunar  Mansions). 

The  Shanti  of  a birth  occurring  during  an  eclipse. 

The  Shanti  of  the  Visha-Ghatika  (the  Poisonous  or  unlucky  Ghatikd 
of  the  thirty  ghatikas  in  a day  and  night). 

The  Shanti  of  the  Gandanta-Yoga  (an  unlucky  conjimction  of  the 
Nakshatras). 

Tke  Shanti  of  disgusting  occurrences. 

The  Shanti  of  the  entrance  of  the  sun  into  particular  signs  of  the 
zodiac. 

The  Shanti  of  falling  into  fevers,  etc. 

The  Shanti  of  days  specified  in  the  Sutras  of  A'shvalayana. 

The  Shanti  of  eclipses. 

The  Shanti  of  injuries  to  receptacles  of  water  and  fire. 

The  Shanti  of  the  falling  of  great  walls. 

The  Sh&ti  of  disease  in  trees. 

The  Shanti  of  the  falling  of  lizards. 

The  Shanti  of  village  and  wild  animals,  as  of  the  dove,  crow,  horse, 
and  elephant. 

(3.)  The  contents  of  the  Vyavahdra  Mayukha  are 

* Has  this  custom  originated  from  the  shame  of  third  marriages,  prevalent  among 
the  olden  Hindus  ? 


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403 


SO  similar  to  the  chapter  on  the  same  subject  of  the 
Mitakshdra  of  Yajnavalkya,  to  which  we  have  already 
referred,  and  bear  so  little  on  caste  observances,  that 
we  have  little  to  notice  connected  "with  them. 

When  enjoining  the  preservation  of  the  customs  and  laws  of  country, 
caste,  and  family  (for  the  content  of  the  people),  it  mentions  that 
the  Dvijas  of  the  South  take  the  daughter  of  a mother’s  brother  in 
marriage  ; that  those  of  the  Middle-country  act  as  artizans  and  eat 
kine ; that  those  of  the  East  eat  fish  and  have  wives  who  are  pros- 
titutes; and  that  those  of  the  North  drink  intoxicating  liquors,  and 
approach  their  women  when  they  should  not  be  touched : and  it  holds 
that  they  are  not  deserving  of  punishment  on  these  accounts.* 

The  evidence  of  parties  connected  with  particular  Vargas  (classes) 
is  to  be  taken  in  cases  in  which  these  Vargas  are  concerned.  The 
evidence  of  foreigners  and  women  is  to  be  taken,  too,  in  their  special 
afl’airs.  The  evidence  of  a person  fallen  from  caste  is  not  to  be  taken. f 
Outcasted  persons  have  no  share  in  inheritance.  J 
Caste-communion,  it  is  maintained  according  to  injunctions  of  the 
Smritis  already  noticed,  is  not  to  be  held  with  a person  who  has  passed 
the  sea  in  a ship,  even  though  he  may  have  performed  penance  for 
it ; and  therefore  connexion  with  such  a person  in  this  Yuga  is 
reprehensible. 

Ndrada  is  quoted  as  saying  that  a woman  left  to  her  own  will 
(svairini)  who  is  not  a Brahmani,  may  have  connexion  with  a man  of 
higher  caste  than  herself,  though  not  of  a lower,  though  the  man 
himself  is  reprehensible.  § Yama  is  quoted  as  teaching  that  a Brah- 
mani, having  connexion  with  a Shudra,  is  to  be  devoured  by  dogs, 
and  having  connexion  with  a Kshatriya  or  a Vaishya  is  merely  to  have 
her  head  shaved  and  to  be  carried  round  on  an  ass.  || 

A creditable  translation  of  the  Vyavahara  Mayiikha 
was  published  by  Mr.  Borrddaile  of  the  Bombay  Civil 

* Vyavahdra  Majiikha,  i.  1.1  3.  t W n-  3.  6-7. 

J V.  M.  iv.  11.  3.  This  law  of  mkeritance  is  now  disavowed  under  the  British 
Government. 

§ V.  M.  iv.  29. 11. 


II  V.  M.  iv.  19.  12. 


404 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


Service  in  1827.  The  work,  too,  was  translated  into 
]\Iarathi  by  Raghunatha  Shastri  Date. 

(4.)  Iwihe PrdyascJiitta  Mayiikha^  after  general  state- 
ments on  the  nature  and  objects  of  atonements  and  pen- 
ances, prescriptions  are  made  for  sins  committed  in  a 
former  birth,  (indicated  by  diseases,  ailments,  etc.)  ; di- 
rections are  given  for  ablutions  by  sand  and  by  water  ; 
the  specific  acts  of  general  penances  are  mentioned  ; and 
the  distmctions  of  offences  are  enumerated.  Penances 
are  prescribed  for  a party  falsely  accused  of  offences  ; 
for  a man  cut  short  m his  days  ; for  drunkemiess  ; for 
eatuig  what  is  forbidden  ; for  eating  flesh  ; for  takmg 
food  with  a person  engaged  with  a sacrament  ; for  eating 
food  uijured  by  keepmg  ; for  theft  of  gold  ; for  inter- 
course with  low-caste  women  ; for  adultery  ; for  mter- 
course  with  beasts  ; for  gambling  ; for  familiarity  with 
parties  guilty  of  offences  ; for  touching  the  lea\fings  of 
meals  ; for  muior  sins  ; for  sacrificing  for  the  unworth}'' ; 
for  abusing  virgins  ; for  abandonmg  the  household  fire  ; 
and  for  miscellaneous  faults. 

(5.)  In  the  Shrdddha  MayuJcha  the  general  doctrme 
and  practice  of  Shraddhas  is  treated  of.  But  this  subject, 
as  far  as  caste  is  concerned,  has  been  already  exhausted 
in  the  precedmg  pages. 

(6.)  The  Samaya  Mayuhha^  which  treats  of  the 
times  and  seasons  of  religious  serwces,  and  the  duties  of 
days  and  months,  does  not  bear  upon  Caste,  though 
it  strikmgly  illustrates  the  formality  and  bondage  m 
which  the  Hindu  worshipper  is  constantly  kept.  The 
Mann  Sanliita,  it  tells  us,  prevails  in  the  Krita  Yuga  ; 
the  Gautama,  in  the  Treta  ; the  Shankha  and  Likhita 


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405 


in  the  Dvapara  ; and  the  Pardshara  in  the  Kali.  The 
following  laws,  formerly  current,  it  also  tells  us,  have 
been  repealed  in  the  Kali  Yuga. 

The  law  pemiitting  the  raising  up  of  issue  upon  the  widow  of  a 
deceased  brother. 

Tile  law  allowing  a girl  mentally  intended  to  be  given  to  a particular 
husband  to  marry  another  husband  should  he  die. 

The  law  allowing  Brahmans  to  have  four  wives,  (one  of  each  of  th  e 
primitive  castes),  Kshatriyas  to  have  three,  and  Vaishyas  to  have  two. 

The  law  allowing  the  killing  of  Brahmans  in  the  act  of  attempting 
murder. 

Tlie  law  allowing  Dvij  as  who  may  have  passed  OA’er  the  sea  to  be 
received  into  caste  on  their  performing  penance. 

The  law  allowing  the  performance  cf  Satradikshd  (sacrificing)  for 
all  classes  of  men  (not  lower  than  Shudras). 

The  law  allowing  the  caiTying  of  a water-pot  (the  emblem  of  enter- 
ing into  the  Sanyasashrama.) 

The  law  allowing  Mahdprasthdnagamana  (walking  on  pilgrimage, 
in  the  direction  of  the  Himalaya,  till  the  pilgrim  be  carried  ofi"  to 
heaven). 

The  slaughter  of  a bull  for  sacrifice. 

The  drinking  of  spirits,  even  at  the  Sautramani  (the  sacrifice  to 
Indra). 

The  law  allowing  enti’ance  into  the  Vdnaprasfhdshrama. 

The  law  forbidding  the  capital  punishment  of  Brahmans  deliberate- 
ly committing  a Mahapataka. 

The  law  requiring  the  exaction  of  atonements  for  familiarity  ( sansar- 
ga)  with  sinners. 

The  law  requiring  penances  for  sins  committed  in  secret,  with  the 
exception  of  theft. 

The  law  allowing  the  use  of  flesh  in  Shraddhas. 

The  law  pennitting  filiation  by  other  ways  than  by  birth  or  adoption. 

The  law  requiiing  the  abandonment  of  a wife  for  common  sins  (smaller 
than  adultery). 

The  law  requiring  one  to  give  up  his  own  life  in  the  protection  of 
cows  and  Brahmans, 


406 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


The  law  allowing  the  sale  of  the  Soma  juice. 

Tlie  law  requiring  the  killing  (by  officiating  Brahmans)  of  animals 
in  sacrifice  (the  deed  being  now  done  by  Shudras). 

The  law  allowing  a householding  Brahman,  on  a long  pilgrimage,  in 
difficulties,  to  eat  from  a Dasa,  Gopala,  Kulamitra,  Ardhasiri. 

The  law  allowing  Brahmans  to  obtain  a livelihood  in  times  of  difficulty 
by  doing  the  work  of  Kshtriyas,  Yaishyas,  and  Shudras. 

The  law  allowing  a Sanyasi  to  beg  and  receive  Dakshina  from  all 
castes,  to  stay  ten  days  anywhere  as  a guest,  and  to  lodge  wherever  he 
might  be  found  at  sunset. 

The  law  forbidding  the  wandering  of  Brahmans, 

The  law  forbidding  a Brahman  to  blow  into  fire  with  his  mouth. 

The  law  interdicting  the  giving  of  evidence  in  cases  between  a father 
and  a son. 

The  law  requiring  the  Brahmacharya  A'shrama  to  last  for  forty-eight 
years  (from  the  binding  of  the  sacred  string,  being  twelve  years  for  the 
study  of  each  Veda). 

The  law  allowing  the  marriage  of  maternal  cousins. 

The  law  allowing  the  killing  of  cows. 

The  law  allowing  the  sacrifice  of  men  and  horses. 

The  law  allowing  the  re-marriage  of  females. 

The  gift  of  a larger  share  (in  inheritance)  to  the  eldest  son. 

The  law  sanctioning  the  performance  of  the  Eajasuya. 

The  law  ordering  the  practice  of  ordeal  (which  some  nevertheless 
think  advantageous). 

These  thirty-four  instances  of  repeal  very  decidedly 
prove  the  mutability  of  the  Hindu  laws,  a fact  which 
should  not  be  overlooked  by  native  reformers.*  In  quali- 
fication of  the  repeal  of  the  laws  respecting  Agnihotra  and 
Sanyasa,  it  is  added  that  they  may  be  practised  while  the 
distinctions  of  Caste  and  the  Vedas  are  acknowledged. 

(7.)  In  the  Niti  Mayiikha  the  duties  of  kings  are 
treated  of  much  as  in  the  Law-book  ascribed  to  Manu. 

* The  list  here  given  is  considerably  larger  than  that  found  in  the 
General  Note  appended  to  Sir  William  Jones’s  translation  of  Manu. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


407 


(8.)  The  Pratislitlid  Mayuhha  treating  of  the  con- 
secration of  temples,  houses,  fortifications,  images,  etc., 
deals  with  religious  and  not  caste  observances. 

(9.)  The  Utsarga  Mayuhha  treats  of  celebrations 
connected  with  shrines,  idols,  tanks,  wells,  etc. 

(10.)  The  A'chdra  Mayuhha  treats  of  the  practical 
religion  of  life,  and  is  very  extensive  and  comprehen- 
sive. Much  of  it  is  devoted  to  caste-matters,  but  to 
caste-matters  more  as  they  affect  indi\fiduals  than  as 
they  affect  social  intercommunion.  The  following  are 
the  principal  subjects  of  which  it  treats,  dra^ving  its 
materials  principally  from  the  Smritis  andthePuranas  : — 

How  the  Dvija  should  get  awake  at  the  BrsOima  Muhurtta  (the 
last  Muhurtta  of  the  night). 

How  the  natural  evacuations  should  he  effected ; how  the  parties 
seeking  relief  should  turn  to  the  north  during  the  day,  and  to  the 
south  during  the  night ; how  silence  should  be  observed,  and  solitude 
sought ; and  how  cleansings  should  be  effected  by  water  or  earth,  etc. 

How  dchamana  (the  sipping  of  water,  and  spitting  it  out  again) 
should  be  performed — on  relieving  nature  ; on  dining  ; on  touching  the 
leavings  of  food  ; on  the  passing  of  ivind  ; on  being  touched  by  cats, 
and  other  impure  animals ; on  uttering  falsehood ; on  commencing 
any  religious  work ; on  seeing  a crow,  a washerman,  a musician 
(vena),  a fishennaa,  or  a dancer ; on  speaking  with  a chandala  or 
mlenchlia  ; on  speaking  with  a woman  or  Shudra ; before  washing 
the  hands  after  dinner ; on  shedcUng  tears  or  blood ; on  touching 
a place  where  cows.  Brahmans  or  women  are  killed;  on  dreaming ; 
on  sneezing  or  spitting ; on  seeing  persons  defiling  themselves  ; on 
falling  before  a guru  ; on  eating  leaf  and  betelnut ; on  putting  on  new 
clothes ; and  on  touching  a woman  during  her  sutika  (of  ten  days 
after  a birth).  The  number  of  achamanas  needed  on  particular 
occasions  is  also  stated. 

How,  and  when,  and  with  what  kind  of  wood,  the  rinsing  of  the 
teeth  is  to  be  performed,  and  not  performed.  The  stick  of  a Brahman 


408 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


ought  to  be  of  twelve  finger  breadths ; of  a Shudra,  Vaishya,  and 
Kshatriya,  of  six  finger-breadths  ; and  of  a woman  of  four  finger- 
breadths.  Particular  woods  used  are  lucky,  and  others  imlucky. 

How  the  pavitra,  or  ring  of  Kusha  grass,  to  be  worn  on  the  fourth 
finger,  is  to  be  worn  at  certain  religious  and  other  services.  A Brah- 
man should  use  four  blades  of  grass ; a Kshatriya,  three ; and  a 
A'aishya,  two. 

How  ablutions  should  be  performed.  They  are  classed  into  the 
necessary,  the  voluntary,  the  occasional,  tliose  needful  for  cleanliness, 
and  the  secondary.  The  first  season  for  them  is  the  morning.  The 
gradation  of  merit  of  waters  rises  as  follows  : — still  waters,  flowing 
waters,  the  ocean,  tirthas,  the  Ganges.  The  face  should  be  turned  to 
the  east  in  bathing.  After  ablution  a Brahman  should  clothe  him- 
self in  white  vestments  ; a Kshatriya,  in  red  ; a Vaishya,  in  yellow  ; 
and  a Shudra,  in  blue.  The  Dvijas  should  use  mantras  in  bathing, 
but  Shudras  should  not  use  them.  Ablution  should  follow  the  touch 
of  a Chandala,  a woman  in  her  courses,  an  out-caste,  a Sutika,  a 
corpse,  or  the  touch  of  a person  defiled  by  touching  any  of  these 
objects,  a Devalaka  (dresser  of  images)  when  out  of  a temple,  a Bud- 
dhist, a Pashapata,  a follower  of  Kapila  (according  to  some  testimo- 
nies), an  ill-behaved  Dvija,  any  person  who  should  not  be  touched, 
one  shedding  tears,  and  a newly  shaved  person. 

How  the  tilaJca*  or  religious  mark,  is  to  be  applied  to  the  body. 
The  clay  to  be  preferably  used  is  to  be  that  of  the  top  of  a momitain, 
of  the  bank  of  a river,  of  the  Brahmakshetra,  of  the  coast,  of  the  sea, 
of  an  anthill,  of  the  roots  of  the  Tulasi  plant,  and  of  Gopichandana  from 
Dvaravati  (Dvaraka).  It  is  to  be  daily  applied  for  the  destruction  of 
sin.  A black  tilaka  is  favourable  to  peacefulness  ; a red  one,  to  bringing 
parties  into  one’s  power ; and  a yellow  one,  to  wealth.  The  V aishnavas 
(sectarial  followers  of  Vishnu)  ought  to  have  a white  tilaka.  The  ap- 
plication of  the  tilaka  by  the  thumb,  produces  fatness  ; by  the  middle- 
finger,  water  or  heaven ; by  the  next  finger,  food  ; and  by  the  fore-fin- 
ger, liberation  (from  births).  According  to  the  Vaishnavas,  there 
are  twelve  places  for  applying  unguents, — the  forehead,  the  belly,  the 
region  of  the  heart,  the  neck,  the  two  sides  of  the  belly,  the  middle  arms, 
the  tips  of  the  ears,  the  elbows.  "When  applying  them  to  the  forehead, 
* The  root  of  this  word  is  tUn,  to  be  unctuous. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


400 


(daring  the  hrightening  half  of  the  moon)  the  name  Keshava  is  to  be 
prononneed  ; wlren  to  the  belly,  Narayai^  ; when  to  tlie  heart,  ^lad- 
hava  ; when  to  the  throat,  Govinda ; when  to  tlie  sides,  Vishnu  and 
Vamana  ; when  to  the  arms,  Madhusiidana  ; when  to  tlie  ears,  Trivik- 
rama  ; when  to  the  elbows,  Shridliara  and  Hrishikesha  ; when  to  the 
back,  Padmamibliia  or  Difmodara;  and  when  to  the  cerebral  region  (not 
mentioned  above),  Vasudeva.  When  the  unguents  are  applied  during 
the  darkening  half  of  the  moon,  the  preceding  names  are  to  be  taken  in 
the  reverse  order.  The  forms  of  the  unguents  should  be  as  follows  : — 
on  the  forehead,  that  of  an  upper  arm  ; on  the  ear,  that  of  a rod ; on  the 
breast,  that  of  a lotus  ; on  the  belly,  that  of  a flame  ; on  the  arm,  that 
of  the  leaf  of  a bambu  ; on  the  back,  that  of  the  rose-apple.  The  best 
tilaka,  from  the  tip  of  the  nose  to  the  hair,  is  of  ten  finger-breadths  ; 
that  of  middle  worth,  of  nine  ; and  the  lowest  in  value,  of  four,  three^ 
or  two  finger-breadths.  Without  attention  to  these  matters,  Karmma 
(the  fruit  of  works)  is  lost.  Figures  of  the  conch-shell,  and  chakra 
(sacred  discus)  should  be  applied  to  the  body  of  the  Vaishnava.  The 
leaves  of  the  tulasi  should  also  be  ate  by  him.  These  injunctions  are 
said  to  be  according  to  the  Bi-ahma  Parana.  [According  to  A'shvahiyana 
here  also  referred  to,  sectarial  marks  should  not  be  used  during  V edic 
ceremonies.]  According  to  the  Brahmanda  Purana,  the  Urdhva-pvn- 
(Iru  (the  upper  marks  of  Shiva)  are  to  be  made  by  clay,  sandalwood, 
ashes,  and  water  ; — after  bathing,  by  clay;  after  the  homa,  by  ashes;  after 
the  worship  of  the  gods,  by  sandalwood  ; on  doing  any  ceremony  con- 
nected with  water,  by  water.  If  the  unguent  be  by  clay,  its  lines  are 
not  to  be  horizontal, but  vertical;  if  by  a.shes,  they  are  not  to  be  vertical 
but  horizontal.  They  are  to  be  used,  according  to  Katyayana, 
at  shraddhas,  sacrifices,  japas,  homas,  the  oblation  to  the 
Vishvedevas,  and  the  worship  of  the  gods  (suras).  The  places 
for  applying  ashes  are  the  forehead,  the  breast,  the  navel,  the  throat, 
the  shoulder  and  upper  arm,  the  back,  and  the  head.  The  Shivamantra 
or  Gayatri  of  the  Atharvaveda  is  to  be  used  when  the  application  is 
made.  A householder  should  apply  the  ashes  with  water  ; and  the 
Vanaprastha  and  Sanyasi  should  apply  them  without  water.  The 
horizontal  marks  of  a Brahman  sliould  be  six  finger-breadths  long  ; of 
a Kshatriya,  four  ; of  a Vaishya,  two  ; and  of  a 8hudra  and  others 
beloAV  him,  of  one.  If  the  (Shaiva)  Bjahman  make  not  the  trlpuvdra 

52 


410 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


(the  ternary  of  lines)  he  becomes  patita  (fallen).  Those  who  mock  the 
parties  wearing  these  marks  are  the  offspring  of  Shudras.  From  these 
notices,  it  is  apparent  that  the  tilaka  marks  are  chiefly  of  a sectarial 
character. 

How  and  where  the  ceremonies  of  Sandhyd  at  morn,  noon,  and  even- 
ing are  to  be  performed. 

How  the  Homa  is  to  be  perfonned  ; how  charity  is  to  he  dispensed  ; 
how  the  five  great  A’ajnas  are  to  he  managed  ; how  libations  are 
to  be  poured  out  to  ancestors,  to  Bhishma,  to  Yama,  and  to  the  gods. 

How  Pujd  (material  worship)  is  to  be  given  to  the  gods  ; and  what 
flowers  and  leaves  are  acceptable  or  unacceptable  to  various  gods; 
and  what  are  the  suitable  objects  and  places  ior  pujd.  In  connexion  with 
this  matter,  it  is  said  that  a Brahman  ought  to  worship  Vishnu  as  Yii- 
sudeva  ; a prince,  as  Sankarshana ; and  a Yaishya,  as  Pradyumna ; and 
a yiuidra,  as  Aniruddha.  A Brahman  ought  to  have  four  images ; a 
Kshatriya,  three;  a Yaishya,  two;  and  a Shudra,  one.  The  worship 
of  the  Shaligrama  ought  to  be  confined  to  Brahmans.  A Shudra  pro- 
nouncing the  sacred  sjdlable  Om,  worshipping  the  Shaligrama,  or  going 
to  the  wife  of  a Brahman,  becomes  a Chandala.  A Brahman,  whether 
])ure  or  impure,  ought,  according  to  the  Linga  Purana,  to  be  the  agent 
in  worshipping  the  Shaligrama.  If  a Shudra  or  a woman  touch  it,  its 
touch  will  prove  like  that  of  a thunderbolt.  Women,  noninitiated 
Briilimaus,  and  Shudras  have  no  right  to  touch  the  emblems  of  Yi.shnu 
or  Shiva. 

How  is  to  be  performed.  A Brahman  teaching  a Shiidra  to 
pronounce  the  sacred  Om  or  svdhd,  becomes  a Shudra,  and  the  Shiidra 
goes  to  hell. 

How  the  worship  of  clay  images  (of  the  linga,  etc.)  should  be 
performed. 

How  at  the  worship  of  gurus,  gifts  should  be  given  to  them. 

How  the  homa  of  the  Yishvedevas  is  to  be  perfonned. 

How  the  five  mahayajnas  ai’e  to  be  performed. 

How  Bhojanas  (feedings)  are  to  effected.  The  mandala  (enclosure) 
formed  by  water  on  the  ground  for  the  vessel  of  a Brahman,  ought  to 
be  quadrangular  ; of  a Kshatriya,  triangidar  ; of  a Yaishya,  circular  ; 
and  of  a Shudra,  semicircular.  The  vessels  used  ought  to  be  of  gold, 
silver,  copper,  bell-metal,  or  of  the  leaves  of  the  lotus,  or  the  palasha 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


411 


( Bntca  froiulosa).  ITowevcr,  a Brahmaclum,  Yati,  or  wkl  ow , should 
not  dine  either  from  bell-metal  or  the  palasha  leaf.  Nothing  is  to  he 
ate  of  animals  with  five  toes.  Numerous  and  miimte  rn  les  are  to  be 
observed  in  the  further  proceedings.  The  three  first  classes  must 
neither  eat  nor  drink  with  the  left  hand.  Should  a Dvija  v iolate  this 
rule,  his  offence  will  be  like  that  of  drinking  ardent  spirits.  A 
Shudra,  however,  may  drink  water  with  that  dishonoured  organ  of  the 
body.  Nothing  is  to  be  taken  which  has  fallen  from  the  mouth. 
Animal  food  is  to  be  avoided.  A Dvija,  when  eating,  should  not  listen 
to  a Chandala,  an  outcaste,  or  a woman  in  her  courses.  The  times  of 
eating  are  midday  and  the  evening.  Other  injunctions,  which  we  have 
already  extracted  from  the  Law-books,  are  to  be  observed. 

How  the  evening  is  to  be  spent  after  lamplighting ; how  beds  are 
to  be  arranged ; and  how  strikritya  is  to  be  performed,  except  on 
forbidden  days. 

What  places  for  sleeping  are  forbidden  ; — such  as  empty  houses ; 
graveyards  ; the  place  where  four  roads  meet ; places  under  trees  ; the 
shrines  of  Mahadeva  and  Devi ; places  frecpiented  by  Niigas  and 
A'akshas ; mounds  of  sand  or  earth ; and  Darbha  grass,  when  the 
Diksha  is  being  performed.  Sleep  is  to  be  taken  during  the  second 
and  third  of  the  four  praharas  of  the  night. 

How  dreams  are  to  be  interpreted,  and  their  bad  omens  averted. 

(11.)  In  the  Dana  Mai/ukha^  the  duty  and  privilege 
of  giving  gifts,  especially  to  Brahmans,  are  amply  and 
keenly  treated  of.  It  Avell  proves  the  fitet,  Avhich  Ave  have 
already  noticed,  that  the  imparting  of  gifts  to  the  priestly 
class  is  quite  a science  in  the  institutions  of  caste.*  Tiie 
folloAving  is  a general  AueAV  of  its  contents : — 

What  ddna  (donum)  is. 

Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  and  Vaishyas  have  the  right  of  giving  dana 
according  to  the  Vedas  ; Shudras  and  women,  according  to  the  Pura- 
nas.  Gifts  to  Shiidras  should  be  confined  to  food  and  clothing.  The 
merit  of  giving  to  Shudras  is  of  the  ratio  of  one  ; to  Vaishyas,  of  two  ; 
to  Kshatriyas,  of  three  ; and  to  Bralnnans,  of  six. 

* See  before  p.  27. 


412 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


'Of  acquisitions  made,  one-tliird  should  be  reserved  for  a livelihood,  and 
two-thirds  for  dana,  according  to  the  work  called  Shivadharma.  Of 
cows  every  tenth  should  he  given,  according  to  tlie  Bharata.  Oold, 
silver,  or  copper,  given  to  a Yati  (Sanyasi)  consigns  both  the  giver 
and  receiver  to  hell.  No  person  who  has  offspring  should  part  ndth 
all  his  property,  or  with  his  Avife,  a dependent,  what  is  held  in  loan  or 
paAvn,  what  belongs  to  other  members  of  a family  as  well  as  one’s 
self,  a pledge,  AA'hat  is  included  in  stndhana,  and  a son. 

Certain  times  are  appropriate  for  gifts,  such  as  Sundays,  the 
day  of  the  sun  entering  into  a new  sign  of  tlie  zodiac,  eclipses, 
festivals,  etc.. 

Gifts  at  holy  places  are  peculiarly  meritorious ; yet  those  receiv- 
ing them  there  (from  a spirit  of  covetousness)  have  to  perform 
penance. 

Both  givers  and  receivers  have  to  perform  numerous  ceremonies. 
Gifts  from  Brahmans  are  to  be  acknowledged  in  a loud  voice  ; from 
Kshatriyas,  in  a gentle  voice ; from  Vaishyas,  in  a Avhisper  5 and  from 
Shudras,  in  a silent  acknoAvledgment. 

Methods  of  measuring  and  weighing  in  dana,  in  the  cases  of  money, 
grain,  land,  etc.,  are  prescribed. 

Mundapas,  or  tabernacles,  when  erected  by  the  givers  of  largesses, 
are  to  he  of  a particular  form,  and  of  particular  Avoods.  Directions 
are  given  for  the  construction  of  the  sacrificial  Kundas,  or  holes,  Avhich 
may  be  made  in  these  Mandapas,  some  of  them  being  of  the  form 
of  the  vulvus,  triangular,  quadrangular,  sexangnlar,  lotus  formed, 
etc.  etc.,  the  shapes  being  different  according  to  the  castes,  a Brah- 
man’s being  quadrangular,  a Kshatriya’s,  circular,  a Vaishya’s,  semi- 
circular, and  a Shudra’s,  triangular.  The  depth  of  the  Kundas  is  also 
prescribed. 

The  planets,  the  Lokapalas,  or  guardians  of  the  eight  directions, 
and  Vinayaka  (Ganapati)  and  other  gods,  are  to  be  invoked.  Holy 
mantras  are  to  be  recited.  Puja  to  houses  and  doors  is  to  be  perform- 
ed. The  holy  fire  is  to  be  kindled.  FloAvers  are  to  be  selected,  fitted 
to  please  individual  gods.  Particular  mantras  are  to  be  repeated,  those 
of  the  Eig-Vedi  and  Yajur-Yedi,  and  Sama-YedI  Brahmans  being 
different. 

When  all  things  are  ready,  the  pi-ince  proceeds  to  bestoAv  his  largesses. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


413 


on  the  Bmhmaus.  The  Sixteen-Great-Gifts  ( ShorlasJta-3rahdddndni) 
according  to  the  IMatsya  Purapa,  are  the  following* ; — 

The  Tulapurusliaddnct,  the  weight  of  a man  or  woman  in  any  of  the 
precious  metals,  ghi,  etc.;  Hiranjjagarhhaddna,  a golden  fadus;  the 
Bruhmdndaddna,  the  gift  of  gold,  in  the  form  of  the  mundane  egg  ; 
the  Kalpataruddna,  the  gift  of  a golden  tree,  like  that  which  satisfies 
all  human  desires  ; the  Gosahasraddna,  the  gift  of  a thousand  cows  ; 
the  HiranyakdniadlLeiiuddna,  the  gift  of  a golden  cow  and  calf,  like  the 
cow  which  yields  what  may  be  desired;  the  Hirnaijdshvaddna,  the  gift 
of  a golden  horse ; the-  Iliranydshvarathaddna,  the  gift  of  a golden 
chariot  with  (golden)  horses  ; the  Ilemahastiddna,  the  gift  of  a golden 
elephant,  the  Panchaldngaladdna,  the  gift  of  five  plows  of  wood,  and 
of  gold,  with  the  bullocks  added  ; the  Dhardddna,  the  gift  of  gold  in 
the  form  of  the  earth,  a mountain,  etc.;  the  Vishvachakraddna,  the  gift 
of  a golden  wheel,  or  discus ; the  Kalpcdatdddna,  the  gift  of  ten  golden 
creeping  plants,  with  flowers  ; the  Suptasdgaraddna,  the  gift  of  seven 
large  oceanic  golden  vessels,  of  a cubit  in  diameter  and  depth;  the 
Ratnadhenuddna,  the  gift  of  a cow  formed  of  set  jewels;  the  Malidiblm- 
taghataddna,  the  gift  of  a large  golden  vessel,  of  a hundred  finger- 
breadths,  filled  with  milk  or  clarified  butter.  Minute  rules  are  laid 
down  about  the  times  and  places  at  which  and  the  methods  by  which 
these  gifts,  so  acceptable  to  the  Brahmans  and  meritorious  before  the 
gods,  are  to  be  given. 

Besides  these  Sixteen-Great-Danas,  there  are  also  the  Ten-Great- 
Danas  of  the  Kurmma  Purana,  the  DashdmahdddndiKi.  They  are  as 
follows: — gold,  a horse,  tila,  anaga  (cobra serpent  in  gold),  a slave  girl, 
a chariot,  land,  a house,  a daughter,  and  a tawny-coloured  cow. 

Other  Ddtias  (with  notices  of  some  of  the  preceding)  are  treated  of 
according  to  various  authorities, — as  those  of  a white  horse,  of  a 
copper  vesselful  of  sesamum  seeds,  of  a waterpot  of  a student  filled 
with  these  seeds,  of  an  elephant,  of  a chariot,  of  land,  of  a house,  of 
sheep,  of  a shelter,  of  ten  cows  (of  molasses,  ghrita,  water,  milk,  curds, 
honey,  sugarcane  juice,  sugar,  cotton,  salt,  and  gold),  of  a golden- 
horned cow,  of  a cow  and  a calf  when  the  birth  is  taking  place,  (which 

* The  Shodasha  ^lahadanas  are,  with  a few  variations  from  the  Matsya,  treated  of  in 
the  Linga  and  other  Piiraiias.  See  Linga  Purana,  second  part,  pp.  5G-75.  Puna 
edition. 


414 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


will  secure  a safe  passage  across  tlie  infernal  river  Vaitaraui),  of  a 
female  buffalo,  of  a goat,  of  odoriferous  substances  (from  the  mountains 
Gandhamadana,  Vipula,  and  Suparsliva),  of  a bhndmnklhi,  an  ocean 
of  happiness,  of  an  anandanidhi,  (an  ocean  of  joy,  a vessel  of  the  ficus 
glomerata,  with  a silver  cover,  and  filled  with  gold),  of  images  of  the 
gods  and  ten  Avataras,  of  the  twelve  Adityas,  of  the  ^loon  and  Sun, 
of  the  nine  planets,  of  golden  images  of  the  donor  and  of  Kuvera 
(the  god  of  riches),  of  golden  Shaligramas,  and  of  the  golden  image 
of  Kalapurusha  Yama  (the  god  of  death). 

Respecting  Kdmijaddna  or  optional  or  discretional  gifts,  much  is 
said.  The  Kdlapurti.shadd?ia,  and  Kdhichakraddna,  made  preparative  to 
death,  may  be  of  an  image  with  golden  eyes,  or  of  a silver  discus,  silver 
teeth,  etc.  They  are  said  to  remove  the  fear  of  death  and  pain,  to 
secure  the  full  complement  of  life,  and  to  merit  heaven.  Similar  in 
their  objects  and  effects,  are  the  Yamaddnas  and  Puskaraddnas.  The 
Krishndjinaddna,  the  gift  of  the  skin  of  a black  antelope,  with  accom- 
paniments, destroys  the  sin  of  seven  births.  The  Shai/addina,  or  gift  of 
a bed,  confers  beauty,  riches,  a ten  thousand  years’  lease  of  heaven, 
.and  other  benefits.  The  Vustraddnn,  or  gift  of  clothes,  confers,  when  the 
dresses  are  of  cotton,  entrance  into  Svarga ; when  they  are  of  wool, 
entrance  into  the  abode  of  the  Rishis;  when  they  are  of  the  kusha 
grass,  or  of  silk,  entrance  into  the  abode  of  the  Vasus.  The  A'sanaddna, 
the  gift  of  a seat,  keeps  disease  away,  and  gives  a taste  of  heaven. 
The  Bhajanaddna,  the  gift  of  vessels,  when  they  are  of  gold,  procures 
the  heaven  of  Indra ; Avhen  of  silver,  the  abode  of  the  Gandharvas  ; 
when  of  copper,  the  abode  of  the  Yakshas  and  Rakshasas,  when  of 
wood,  iron,  etc.,  lesser  benefits.  The  SthdUddna,  the  gift  of  a tray, 
gives  fatness  and  pleasui’e.  The  Pdkaddna,  the  gift  of  cooked  food,  is 
favourable  to  the  acquisition  of  power.  The  Vidiidddna,  or  gift  of  learn- 
ing, consists  principally  in  presents  of  books.  Those  enumerated  are 
the  Eighteen  Puranas  (according  to  the  Yanilia) — in  their  adjective 
names — as  follows: — The  Brahma,  Pudma,  Yaishnava,  Shaiva,  Bhaga- 
vata,  Xaradi'ya,  Markandeya,  Agneya,  Bhavishya,  Brinuna-Yaivartta, 
Laiuga,  Yaraha,  Skanda,  Yamana,  Kaurmma,  ^latsya,  Garuda,  and 
the  Brahmanda ; the  Upapuranas ; the  Ramayana,  Bharata,  and 
books  of  the  Tarkashiistra  (logic),  Chanda,  Alankara,  of  the  Yedas, 
IVIimansa  and  Dharmashastra.  Power  on  earth,  and  glory  in  heaven. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


415 


are  the  consequences  of  liberality  in  this  fonn.  Chatropdnacldna,  the 
gift  of  umbrellas  ami  shoes,  will  give  freedom  from  scorching  heat,  ar.d 
from  pain  in  walking,  in  the  other  world.  Annoddna,  the  gift  of  grain, 
(to  serve  a year)  secures  freedom  'from  disease  and  pain.  Tdnihula- 
ddna,  the  gift  of  leaf  and  betelnut,  secures  luck.  Gandhadravjjaddna, 
the  gift  of  odoriferous  substances,  keeps  the  body  in  health.  Ratnaddna, 
the  gift  of  gems,  keeps  off  pain,  sin,  and  secures  freedom  (from  births) 
at  death.  Vidnnnaddna,  the  gift  of  coral,  has  similar  effects. 
Udakaddna,  the  gift  of  water,  accortling  to  many  authorities,  is  very 
meritorious,  giving  happiness  in  heaven  for  a hundred  yugas,  etc. 
JJharminaghataddn'z,  the  gift  of  a supply  of  vessels  full  of  water,  is  like 
the  gift  of  a thousand  cows,  and  secures  heaven.  YadnopavUaddaa, 
the  gift  of  the  sacred  string,*  has  the  merit  of  the  Agnishtoma. 
Yashtiddna,  the  gift  of  a staff  to  one  needing  it,  keeps  off  disease,  and 
a beating  from  Yama.  Agnishtakaddna,  the  gift  of  fuel,  secures  the 
Brahmaloka.  The  Dipaddna,  the  gift  of  a lamp,  improves  the  eyes, 
and  gives  prosperity,  both  in  this  life  and  that  which  is  to  come. 
Ahhijaddna,  the  gift  of  shelter  to  the  fearful,  fulfils  human  desires. 
Mdseshuddnas,  gifts  fit  for  the  twelve  months,  keep  the  body  sound, 
prevent  entrance  into  Yainaloka,  and  effect  direct  entrance  into 
Svarga.  Ashvntliaseoana,  the  care  of  the  holy  fig-tree,  destroys 
disease.  Pdnthopnchdra,  feeding  travellers,  destroys  sin,  and  aids 
in  acquiring  wealth.  GoparicJtarga,  the  service  of  cows,  procures 
felicity  in  Goloka  (the  heaven  of  Krishna).  Ndnddravnjaddna,  dis- 
tributing of  money  in  various  forms,  has  many  wonderful  effects  in 
both  worlds. 

NotAvithstancling  the  precise  nature  of  the  injunctions 
of  the  books,  on  the  kinds,  seasons,  and  modes  of  gifts, 
there  is  in  modern  times  much  that  is  arbitrary  in 
the  disposal  of  gifts.  The  great  object  of  the  legislation 

respecting  them  is  the  encouragement  of  liberality  to  the 
llrahmans  by  all  imaginable  ingenious  devices,  and 
exorbitant  promises  both  for  this  life  and  that  which  is  to 
come.  Though  the  formalities  prescribed  are  often 


* Licluding  the  expenses  of  its  assumption. 


416 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


neglected,  they  are  sometimes  attended  to,  even  in  dis- 
j)ensing  largesses  according  to  the  highest  scale.  Fre- 
quently the  native  princes  of  India  are  brought  to 
notice  as  more  or  less  satisfying  the  high  demands  of 
the  parties  who  have  the  privilege  of  seeking  alms.  The 
calls  made  at  marriages  by  Brahmans,  Bhats,  and  Charans 
(or  family  bards)  in  the  case  of  the  Rajputs,  were 
often  viewed  as  inducements  to  infanticide.  ]\Iost 
enormous  sums  are  given  away  in  the  hope  of  getting 
sons  and  heirs,  throughout  the  country.  “ About  the 
year  1794,  Chanaghosha,  a Kayastha  of  IMidnapur,”  saj's 
Mr.  M’^ard,  “ gave  to  the  Brahmans  an  artificial  moun- 
tain of  gold.  A little  before  this  Gopala  Krishna,  a 
A'aidya  of  Rajanagar,  presented  to  the  Brahmans  three 
mountains,  one  of  gold,  one  of  rice,  and  another  of  the 
seeds  of  sesamum.”*  These  mountains,  he  adds,  need 
not  be  very  large  ; but  it  is  necessary  that  figures  of 
trees,  deer,  etc.,  should  be  seen  on  them.  Sometimes 
effects  not  recognized  by  the  Smritis,  are  alleged  to  fol- 
low munificent  gifts.  “ Shiidras,”  it  is  asserted,  “ cannot 
]>ass  from  a lower  grade  to  a higher  ; but  the  Rajas  of 
Travankur  are  always  manufactured  into  Brahmans  on 
ascending  the  masnad,  an  important  part  in  this  transmi- 
gration being  sometimes  played  by  a golden  cow,  at  the 
mouth  of  which  the  Raja  enters  a Shiidra,  and  having 
crawled  along  its  interior  arrangements,  emerges  under 
the  animal’s  tail  as  one  of  the  tAvice-born : otherwise  he 
])athes  in  a golden  lotus.  The  gold  figures  are  sub- 
sequently diA'ided  amongst  the  officiating  Brahmans. 

* Ward's  View  of  tlie  History,  Literature,  and  Mythology  of  the 
Hindus.  Vol.  III.  p.  292. 


CASTE  IN  THE  LAW-BOOKS. 


417 


During  the  last  century,  two  Travanknr  Brdhmans 
visited  England,  thereby,  of  course,  losing  their  caste, 
which  was  only  I’estorcd  by  their  passing  the  sacred 
Yonimade  of  the  finest  gold,  which  afterwards,  with 
many  other  valuable  gifts,  were  presented  to  one  of  the 
temples.”*  The  Raja  of  Mahishur  (Mysore),  notwith- 
standino;  the  embarrassed  state  of  his  finances,  is  said  to 
have  often  given  magnificent  presents  to  Brahmans,  as  well 
as  to  the  temples  of  the  gods.  Among  others  tnentioned 
to  me  by  parties  acquamted  with  his  country,  are  a 
golden  mandapa  and  cradle,  with  pearls  and  precious 
stones,  to  the  chief  Yaishnava  Svami ; a thousand  golden 
rings  set  with  precious  stones,  to  as  many  members  of  the 
priestly  caste;  the  weight  of  his  own  body  in  silver  (on 
his  completing  his  sixtieth  year)  ; and  liberal  dakshi'na  to 
learned  men.  Similar  presents  have  been  given  in  our 
oAvn  day  by  some  of  the  Maratha  and  Rajput  princes.  F east- 
ings of  Brahmans  are  reckoned  meritorious  throughout 
the  country.  In  expectation  of  them,  and  with  a vie^v 
to  do  justice  to  them,  those  of  the  old  school  sometimes 
fast  the  day  preceding  them,  and  eat  so  copiously  that 
they  need  feAv  additional  supplies  the  day  following. 

(12.)  The  Shuddlii-Mayibkha  treats  of  the  removal 
of  ceremonial  and  other  impurities.  But  I have  ex^ 
tracted  so  much  on  this  subject  already,  from  Angira, 
Manu,  Yajnavalkya,  and  Parashara,f  that  it  is  not 
necessary  here  again  to  attempt  its  exhibition.]; 

* Davy’s  Land  of  the  Permauls,  p.  314.  Compafe  with  this  Forbes’s 
Oriental  Memoirs,  vol.  ii  (2nd  edit,)  pp.  239-40. 

t See  before  pp.  360  et  serj^ 

I In  the  examination  of  the  Mayukhas,  I hare  used  my  own 
manuscripts  and  those  of  Ganpatnio  Gadagil,  Inamdar,  of  Wai, 


418 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


By  the  Smritis  the  Caste-s3"stem  was  brought  to  its 
full  maturit}’,  and  stereotyped  for  ever,  except  in  so  far 
as  it  is  expected  to  be  influenced  what  is  held  to  be 
the  lamentable  and  destructive  progress  of  the  Kaliyuga. 
In  consequence  of  this  circumstance,  we  need  say  very 
little,  comparatively,  respecting  Caste  as  it  appears  in  the 
later  literature  of  the  Hindus. 

X. — Caste  in  the  Harivansha. 

The  Ilarivanslia^  which  is  sometimes  called  a sup[)le- 
ment  to  (khila)^  and  sometimes  a portion  of,  the 
IMahabharata,  is  generall}^  considered  as  intermediate 
between  the  Smritis  and  the  Puranas,  to  which,  never- 
theless, it  is  sometunes  made  to  refer.  It  treats, 
especially  in  its  earlier  portions  after  its  mtrodnctoiy 
matter,  of  the  glory  of  Hari,  particular!}"  in  the  form  of 
Krishna.  It  contains  man}"  curious  legends.  It  is 
scarcely  necessary  to  say  that  it  recognizes  the  caste- 
system  in  its  integrity,  though  it  does  not  mention  it 
an}’ where  at  any  considerable  length. 

Of  Yeua,  the  prince  reputed  to  be  so  rebellious  against  the  Brah- 
mans, it  is  there  said  that  he  was  laid  hold  of  by  the  great  Ri.sliis, 
Avho  rubbed  his  left  tliigh.  From  this  rubbing  a chmiuutive  and  black 
man  came  forth,  who,  being  afraitl,  remained  standing  with  joined 
liands.  Atri  (the  Rishi)  seeing  him  afraid,  said  to  liim,  Xishida  (sit 
doAA'ii).  He  became  the  establisher  (Jcarttd)  of  the  race  of  the  Xishddas* 
The  Harivansha  recognizes  Sutas  and  Mdgadhas,  in  their  caste 
occupations  of  encomiasts  and  bards. 

It  says  that  Prishadra,  originally  a Kshatriya,  became  a Shudra  for 
killing  his  guru’s  cow ; and  that  two  sons  of  Nabhagarishta,  originally 
A’^aishyas,  became  Brahmans. f It  also  alleges,  like  Mann,  that  the 
Shakas,  Yavauas,  Kambojas,  Paradas,  Pahlavas,  Haihayas,  Talajanghas, 
* Harivansha  V.  v,  325  et  seq. 


t II.  V.  xi.  V.  C58-9. 


CASTE  IN  THE  llARIVANSIIA. 


419 


etc.,  lost  their  caste  of  Kshatriyas  for  rebelling  against  the  descendant 
of  llarischandra.* * * §  These  traditions,  and  others  of  a like  character, 
found  in  the  Piiranas,  deal  with  the  fact  that  position  in  Aryan  society 
was  not  originally  wholly  dependent  on  birth. 

To  the  various  and  contradictory  accounts  of  the  origin  of  Caste, 
the  following  is  added  : — “ The  renowned  Sunahotra  [a  king  of  the 
Lunar  race]  was  the  son  of  Kshatravrickllia,  and  had  three  very 
righteous  sons.  Kasha,  Shala,  and  the  mighty  Ghritsaniada*  The  son  of 
Ghritsamada  was  Shunaka,  from  whence  sprang  the  Shaunakas, 
Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  Vaishyas,  and  Shudras.”f  Shaunaka  is  also 
spoken  of  in  the  Yishnu  Purana,|  as  having  “ originated  the  four 
castes.”  Perhaps  this  prince  had  some  hand  in  framing  laws  for 
their  distinct  recognition,  as  is  onwards  said  to  have  been  the  case 
with  king  Bali.§  In  the  context  of  the  passage  now  cpiotcd,  the 
jMaitreyas  are  said  to  have  assumed  the  part  of  the  descendants 
of  Bhrigu  (the  duties  of  the  Brahmauhood,)  though  they  had  the 
character  of  Kshatriyas  (as  warriors  ?).||  Children  of  [the  Rishi 
Angiras]  are  also  said  to  have  been  “ born  in  the  family  of 
Bhngu,  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas,  and  Vaishyas,  three  kinds  of  dcscen- 

* II.  Y.  xiv.  See  Muir's  Texts  i.  45.  et  seq.  5Ir.  Muir  thus  translates  the  passage 

in  the  Harivansha,  to  which  I refer  : — “ Aurva  havinjj  performed  Sagara’.-i  natal,  and 
other  rites,  and  taught  him  all  the  Ye'das  then  provided  him  with  a fiery  missile,  such  as 
even  the  gods  could  not  withstand.  By  the  power  of  this  weapon,  and  attended  by  an 
army  incensed  and  fierce,  Sagara  speedily  slew  the  Ilaihayas,  as  if  they  had  been 
beasts  ; and  acquu’ed  great  renown  throughout  the  world.  lie  then  set  himself  to 
exterminate  the  Shakas,  Yavanas,  Kambojas,  l*aradas,  and  Pahlavas.  But  they 
when  on  the  point  of  beingslaughtered  by  Sagara,  had  recoiuseto  the  sage  VashishHia, 
and  fell  down  before  him.  Ya.shishtha  beholding  them,  by  a sign  restrained  Sagara, 
giving  them  assurance  of  protection.  Sagara  after  considering  his  ovm  vow,  and 
listening  to  what  his  teacher  had  to  say,  destroyed  their  caste  (dharma),  and  made 
them  change  their  cu-stoms.  He  released  the  Shakas,  after  causing  the  half  of  their 
heads  to  be  shaven  ; and  the  Yavanas  and  Kambojas,  after  having  had  their  heads 
entirely  shaved.  The  Paradas  were  made  to  wear  long  hair,  and  the  Pahlavas  to 
wear  beards.  They  were  all  excluded  from  the  study  of  the  Ye'das,  and  from  oblations 
bv  fire.  The  Shakas,  Yavanas,  Kambojas,  Paradas,  Pahlavas,  Kolisarpas,  Mahishas, 
Diirvas,  Cholas  and  Ke'ralas,  had  all  been  Kshatriyas,  but  were  deprived  of  their 
social  and  religious  position  bj' the  gi’cat  Sagara,  according  to  the  advice  of  Yashishtha.’’^ 

t H.  Y.  xxix.  V.  1518-20.  Muir’s  Texts,  I.  49.  J Y.  P.  iv.  8, 

§ H.  Y.  .xxxi.  V.  1684.  11  xxxii.  re.  1789-90. 

^ Harivaubha,  xiv.  rv.  773-83.  Muir's  Texts,  Yol.  i.  p.  182. 


420 


WIIAT  CASTE  IS. 


daiits  in  thousands.”*  In  a neighbouring  pt^ssage  Shudras  are  said 
to  have  also  had  tire  same  descent.^ 

As  in  the  Ramayana,  it  is  said  that  in  the  reign  of  Rama  the 
Kshatriyas  were  subject  to  tlie  Brahmans;  the  Vaishyas  to  the  Ksha- 
triyas  ; and  the  Shudras  to  the  three  other  castes.  | 

Even  the  wild  Shabaras,  Barbaras,  and  Pttlindas  are  represented 
as  praising  A'rya  (the  wife  of  Shiva). § 

Of  a woman  performing  the  Umdarata  (the  vrata  of  the  goddess 
Uma,  wife  of  Shiva)  it  is  said  that  she  will  give  most  magnificent 
presents  to  a pure  Brahman,  such  as  two  suits  of  clothing,  a bed,  a 
conveyance,  a house,  grain,  slaves,  male  and  female,  jewels,  a mountain 
of  jewels,  elephants,  horses,  cows,  etc.  etc.|| 

The  Brahmans,  in  other  circumstances,  are  represented  as  receiving 
similar-  presents.^ 

Tlie  reading  of  the  Mahdbharata  should,  at  its  diflferent  stages,  be 
accompanied  with  most  liberal  largesses.** 

Inattention  to  Brahmanical  institutions  is  represented  as  the  grand 
cause  of  the  progress  of  the  evil  Kali  Yuga,  a most  conspicuous  sign  of 
which  is  the  usurpation  by  one  caste  of  the  duties  of  another,  parti- 
cularly as  far  as  the  four  primitive  castes  are  concerned. j’j’  A shrewd 
guess  has  been  made  at  the  probable  issue  of  the  tyrannical  system 
of  caste;  but  this  guess  is  associated  with  great  blunders  as  to  the 
material  depravation  of  India,  of  Tyhicli  no  sign  yet  begins  to  appear. 

A mystical  origin  of  the  Brahmans,  according  to  their  sacrificial  dis- 
tribution, is  thus  spoken  of  (I  quote  the  translation  and  interposed 
notes  of  Mr.  Muir,  subjoining  a note  respecting  the  text) : — “ The 
Lord  created  the  Brahma,  who  js  the  chjef,  as  well  as  the  udgdtri,  who 
cliauuts  the  Bama  Veda  fr-om  his  mouth ; and  hotri  and  adhvargu  from 
his  amis.”  [The  text  of  the  next  verse  seems  to  be  corrupt,  but  it 
appears  to  refer  to  four  kinds  of  priests,  the  brdhmandchhamin,  the 
prastotri,  the  inaitrdvaruna,  and  the  pratishtdtri.']  He  formed  the 
pratihartri  and  fke  pofri  from  his  belly,  the  adhijapaka  [query  ach- 


* II.  V.  xxix.  r.  1.59C-7. 

X H.  Y.  xlii.  V.  2347-8. 

II  H.  V.  cxxxviii.  v.  7805  et  seq. 

**  H.  V.  cclviii.  near  the  eud. 


t H.  V.  xxxii.  V.  1754. 

§ H.  V.  lix.  V.  3274. 

^ H.  V.  clxxxi.  near  the  end. 
tt  See  II.  V.  adh.  194-199. 


CASTE  IN  THE  IIAKIVANSIIA. 


421 


and  the  neshtri  from  his  thighs,  the  agmdhra  and  the  sacrificial 
brahmanija  from  his  hands,  the  grdvan  and  the  sacrificial  siuietri  from 
his  arms.  Thus  this  divine  lord  of  the  world  created  these  sixteen 
excellent  ritviks,  the  expounders  of  all  sacrifice.  Hence  this  Purusha 
called  the  Veda  is  composed  of  sacrifice  ; and  all  the  Vedas  with  the 
A'edangas,  Upanishads,  and  ceremonies,  are  fonued  of  his  essence.”* 
This  differs  much  from  foiiner  notices  of  the  priestly  generation. 
There  is  no  consistency  in  the  accounts  of  the  origin  either  of  the 
Brahmans  or  of  the  other  castes, 

Further  proof  of  this  we  haye  in  the  Harivansha,  “ Vi.shnu,  sprung 
from  Brahma,  exalted  above  the  power  of  sense,  and  absorbed  in 
devotion,  becomes  the  patriarch  Dakslia,  and  creates  numerous  beings. 
The  beautiful  Brahmans  were  formed  from  an  unchangeable  element 
(^akshara),  the  Kshatriyas  from  a changeable  substance  (kshara),  the 
Vaishyas  from  alteration  {yikdra),  and  the  Shudras  from  a modifi- 
cation of  smoke.  \Vlren  Vishnu  was  contemplating  colors  [or  castes, 
the  word  variia  having  both  significations].  Brahmans  were  fashioned 
with  white,  red,  yellow,  and  blue  colours,  Thence  his  creatures  attained 
in  the  world  the  state  of  fourfold  caste,  as  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas, 
Vaishyas,  and  Shudras ; — rbeing  of  one  type,  but  with  different  duties, 
two-footed,  very  wonderful,  full  of  energy,  and  acquainted  with  the 
means  of  success  in  all  the  works  they  had  to  perform.  There  are 
declared  to  be  ceremonies  prescribed  by  the  Vedas  for  the  men 
of  the  three  (highest)  castes.  By  this  union  of  Vishnu  with 
Braluna  [?],  by  wisdom  and  energy,  the  divine  son  of  the  Prachetasas 
[Daksha],  who  was,  in  fact,  Vishnu,  the  great  devotee,  passed,  by 
means  of  that  contemplation,  [or  union]  into  the  sphere  of  action.  [?] 
Hence  the  Shudras,  sprung  froip  vacirity,  are  destitute  of  ceremonies, 
and  so  are  not  entitled  to  the  rites  of  initiation  (sanskdrci) ; nor  have 

* H.  V.  adh.  cc.  v.  11358  et,  seq.  (Muir's  Texts  I.  p.  36.)  My  manuscript  of  the 
orijjinal  seems  more  correct  than  that  of  the  Calcutta  printed  edition  used  by 
M.  Muir.  For  it  has  actually  Achdvaka,  which  confirms  the  conjectural 

emendation  of  Mr.  Muir.  For  Sunetri  it  has  Unnetd  (the  equivalent  of  Unnetri).  The 
sixteen  classes  of  priests  are  thxis  given  in  the  manuscript  commentary  of  Nilakantha 
Govinda,  associated  with  my  copy  of  the  text  : — Brahma,  Udgata,  Hota,  Adhvaryu, 
Brahmanachhansi,  Prastota,  Maitravaruna,  Pratiprasthdta,  Pratiharta,  Pota,  Achavaka, 
Xe'shta,  Agnidhra,  Subrahmanya,  Gravastota,  and  Uune'ta. 


422 


WHAT  CASTE  IS. 


tliey  a knowledge  of  tlie  Vedas.  Just  as,  upon  the  friction  of  wood,